Jamaica Kincaid was born in St. Johns, Antigua

By: Cerone White

On this day in Caribbean history, May 25, 1949, Antiguan-American novelist, essayist, gardener, and gardening writer Jamaica Kincaid, was born. Kincaid was born in St. John’s, Antigua as Elaine P. Richardson.

In a New York Times article the daughter of a homemaker and a carpenter, Kincaid said, “The way I became a writer was that my mother wrote my life for me and told it to me.”

When Kincaid’s father became ill and was unable to provide for the family Kincaid’s mother sent her to the New York to become an assistant and send money back to Antigua to help the family. However, Kincaid never sent any money back to her family nor did she leave a forwarding address causing her family to be unable to have any contact with her for nearly 20 years.

Kincaid married in 1979 and was divorced in 2002. That marriage bore two children, a son, Harold Shawn who is the music producer/songwriter at Levelsoundz, and a daughter, the singer/songwriter Annie Rosamond.

To date, the accomplished writer has written five novels, five non-fiction books, and a myriad of non-fiction articles. Throughout the years, Kincaid has accepted many awards and honors for her work. The first award Kincaid received for her work was in 1984 when she won the Morton DauwenZabel Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for “At the Bottom of the River.” In 2011 she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Tuffs University and in 2015 she received received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Brandeis University.

Today Kincaid lives in North Bennington, Vermont and during the summers, she teaches at Claremont McKenna College in California where she is the Professor of Literature. Kincaid is also the “Professor of African and American studies in Residence” at Harvard during the academic year.

 

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