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Saving the life that is my own

Posted: October 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Last week I picked up the Alice Walker collection of essays In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens and reread the very first essay, “Saving the life that is your own: The importance of models in the artist’s life”. I’ve read this essay before, many times, in fact, over the years since I first got the book back when my teenager was a little baby. The essay’s theme, that artists need to have templates to follow in order to live their lives, is one that I have always believed in. The templates are knowledge of the very existence of other artists like them. The timing of my rereading of the essay proved prescient, as this weekend I was fortunate to meet a woman writer whom I have admired for years, Nalo Hopkinson.

 

Nalo Hopkinson. Photo from http://nalohopkinson.com/

 

A brilliant writer, Nalo is one of the few Caribbean sci-fi/fantasy writers who have been internationally published. Her first books Brown Girl in the Ring and Midnight Robber are bonafide sci-fi classics. She writes brave feminist fiction; it is outstanding not simply because of its themes and Caribbean characters of colour (and the fact that in speculative fiction black writers are few and far between) but also because she’s a fine writer with a gift for lush, descriptive writing.

I treasured the time I spent listening to her and in the writing workshop she gave at the 30th WI Literature Conference, which took place at UWI, St Augustine, this weekend. Here is a writer who more or less forged her way in the publishing world without compromising her vision or her voice. This is a model I would be happy to emulate.


One Comment on “Saving the life that is my own”

  1. 1 Nalo said at 3:03 pm on October 17th, 2011:

    Awww, thanks! I was so glad to see you. I was hoping you’d be there. Got yr msg, btw. I’m en route back home and will be into the wee hours. Then, from the way I’m feeling now, I’ll likely be in fibro flare n too sick to do much for a couple of days afterwards. And then I’ll start catching up with stuff I need to get to.


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