Fiction Map of the World – Barbados

by Travelbag on 13 October 2014, 10:10AM

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This sublime tropical island is a part of the Caribbean archipelago despite being classified as an Atlantic island. Barbados has a rich colonial history that runs deeply throughout the island meaning that its history has significantly influenced works of writers who have based themselves elsewhere.

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Essential Holiday Reading
What is the perfect book for reading while the golden sands of the beach surround you and the warm ocean ripples upon your feet as you relax in the sun? How about a traditional swashbuckling tale? Captain Blood tells the story of the wrongfully arrested Peter Blood, country physician and former soldier who is exiled to the tropical colony of Barbados during the Monmouth rebellion of 1685. It’s written by Rafael Sabatini who, while born in Italy to an English mother, manages to capture the essence of the Caribbean at the time of the setting capturing an enduring tale of swashbuckling piracy love and adventure upon the high seas.

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Notable Barbadian Books
Rather than Barbadian literature consisting of a standalone title, Barbados’ literary history is often grouped among the broader Caribbean literary works. However, there are some standout successes such as The Polished Hoe written by Canada-based Barbadian writer Austin Clarke. Also written by Clarke, is the novel More (2008), which explores the gangland crime of a son and his mother’s desperate attempts to salvage something from the cards that life has dealt her.

Karen Lord is another noteworthy Barbadian writer who has published a number of novels more recently such as the Redemption in Indigo, which was republished in 2012. While her novel The Best of All Possible Worlds was published in 2013 and has won numerous literary awards.

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Notable Barbadian Authors
Other than those already mentioned there are a number of Barbadian novelists who have based themselves outside of Barbados throughout their career. An interesting fact is that a number of authors are of American descent. However, a prominent author who is still based on the island is Glenville Lovell who was born and raised in Christ Church. His novels Fire in the Canes (1995) and Song of the Night (1998) were met with critical acclaim while many of his works, novella and plays, have represented the island at the Caribbean Festival of Arts.

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Notable Barbadian Films
Notable films set or made on the island include Island in the Sun (1957) starring Harry Belafonte, also The Tamarind Seed (1974) starring Julie Christie and Omar Sharif complete the list of mainstream films that have graced the island of Barbados. However, local cinema has flourished and continues to be a big draw, specifically amongst the local population and the wider Caribbean region. Films such as Hit for Six and Take Dem Out (both 2006) explore local life and Barbados.

Barbados Holiday Listening
Barbados music is a distinctive style in the Caribbean region. It includes mixtures of different types of music, both traditional and modern and a blend of Western classical, religious tunes and Caribbean folk styles. Essentially, calypso is a major inspiration while the traditional Jamaican musical genre of reggae is also an influence with Barbadian calypso music being fast-paced, catchy and instantly danceable. Notable artists from the Barbados calypso scene include Might Gabby and the group The Merrymen.

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Notable Musicians from Barbados
Global superstar Rihanna is probably Barbados’ most well-known citizen and she is of course one of the most successful music artists in the world. Four-piece Barbados band Cover Drive had some international success recently with hits such as Twilight, Explode and Lick Ya Down. While ragga-soca artist Rupee and soca artist Red Plastic Bag are among the most prominent traditional, home-based artists who are firm favourites during the annual Barbados Carnival. 

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