Kincaid, Jamaica

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kincaid, Jamaica

Jamaica Kincaid, 1949–, West Indian–American writer, b. Antigua as Elaine Potter Richardson. She immigrated to the United States at 16 and later became a U.S. citizen. Changing her name (1973), she became a New Yorker staff writer in 1976, working there until 1996. Kincaid first became known for her lush tales of Caribbean life—in her first short-story collection, At the Bottom of the River (1983), and in Annie John (1985), a semiautobiographical series of related stories that explore the complexity of mother-daughter connections. Her later fiction continues the style and themes of these works. Dark and personal, they often feature clear-eyed yet lyrical portraits of everyday reality in the postcolonial West Indies. Her novels include Lucy (1990), The Autobiography of My Mother (1996), Mr. Potter (2002), and the stream-of-consciousness, apparently semiautobiographical dissection of a marriage's dissolution, See Now Then (2013). Kincaid has also written nonfiction, notably A Small Place (1988), a long and angry essay on Antigua, and My Brother (1997), an incantatory memoir of her brother's death from AIDS. An enthusiastic and knowledgeable gardener, she is also the author of many essays on the subject and of My Garden (Book) (1999).

See studies by M. Ferguson (1994), D. Simmons (1994), H. Bloom, ed. (1998), L. Paravisini-Gebert (1999), L. Golmore (2000), and S. A. J. Alexander (2002).

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