• One Book, One Community 2017
  • One Book, One Community 2012
  • One Book, One Community 2011
  • One Book, One Community 2010
  • One Book, One Community 2009
  • One Book, One Community 2008
  • One Book, One Community 2007
  • One Book, One Community 2005





About "One Book, One Community" 2017

Book_cover_Green_days_by_the_riverAfter a four-year hiatus, NALIS is pleased to announce the resumption of its One Book, One Community countrywide reading project.  NALIS’ selection for this year’s campaign is Green Days by the River, written by Michael Anthony (D.Litt).This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of this book.

The One Book, One Community Project is part of NALIS’ drive to promote the reading habit, foster a sense of community and showcase our country’s history, culture and stories.  Green Days by the River is a provocative story about young love and life in Mayaro in the 1950s. 

All are invited to borrow and read the book and participate in activities which include discussions, dramatizations, displays, readings and other events based on the book. Activities will be held across the NALIS network. 

Michael Anthony is a prolific writer whose works have been lauded locally and internationally.  He is the recipient of the Humming Bird Medal God for his contribution to literature; was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West Indies and received a Life Time Literary Award from NALIS.

NALIS adopted the One Book, One Community Project in 2005.  Following are the local books and authors which have been featured over the years:

            Night Calypso by Lawrence Scott – 2005

            Miguel Street by Sir V.S. Naipaul – 2007

            The Schoolmaster by Earl Lovelace – 2008

            All That Glitters by Michael Anthony (D.Ltt) – 2009

            Prospero’s Daughter by Dr. Elizabeth Nunez – 2010

            Trinidad Noir edited by Jeanne Mason and Lisa Allen Agostini - 2011

            The Stolen Cascadura by Beverly Ann Scott - 2012

For more information contact the Public Relations and Marketing Department at 624-4466 ext 2323.






1Michael AnthonyMichael Anthony was born at Mayaro on February 10, 1930. From infancy he fell in love with literature through nursery rhymes and children’s poems and he made up his mind to try to be a writer.

He attended Mayaro R.C. School and at eleven he was sent to San Fernando to live with a family, following the death of his father and the resulting hardship at his home. He spent one complete year in San Fernando, from New Year’s Day 1941 to Christmas that year, and described this little period in the novel - “The Year in San Fernando.” He returned to school in Mayaro as the year 1942 opened but went to San Fernando again in September 1944, having won a bursary to the Junior Technical School of San Fernando.

Despite going to the Technical School, which prepared its students for the technical life such as working in machine shops, et cetera, his love for literature did not wane. A few years after the completion of his apprenticeship at the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery he left for England with the hope of becoming a writer. That year was 1954.

The dream of becoming a writer was first realized in full in 1963 with the publication of his first novel, “The Games were Coming.” Between 1954 and 1963 he had written short stories broadcast over the BBC in its programme, Caribbean Voices. In 1965 he published “The Year in San Fernando,” and in 1967 he published “Green Days by the River.”

In that same year, 1967, he fell ill and was advised to return home to avoid the cold climate. However when he left England, in 1968, he went to Brazil, mainly due to Brazilian friends he met in London.

He spent two truly enjoyable years in Brazil, most of that time working at the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy in Rio de Janiero, and at the same time learning the language of Brazil, Portuguese. His family — wife and three children — were with him there, and a daughter, Sandra, was born there. In 1970 he decided to return to Trinidad after some contacts with the Trinidad Guardian.

Of course 1970 was a year of great unrest  in Trinidad, being the year of the Black Power riots and it did not prove easy settling down. Before resuming his writing he worked at the Trinidad Guardian, and by the end of that year 1970 he was offered a post at Texaco, the former Trinidad Leaseholds Limited, where he had served his apprenticeship. But two years after accepting this post the National Cultural Council was formed and he was brought into this Council as a “Writer” by the Government of the day.

The decade 1972 to 1982 was a decade of quiet as compared to the previous years and he was able to produce eight books in this period, “Profile Trinidad,” “Glimpses of Trinidad and Tobago,” “The Making of Port-of-Spain,” “Cricket in the Road,” “Folk Tales and Fantasies,” “King of the Masquerade,” “Streets of Conflict,” which is set in Brazil; and “All that Glitters.”

The rest of the 1980s saw further works such as “Port-of-Spain in a World at War” and “First in Trinidad,” and also the constitutional history “A Better and Brighter Day,” and the geo-historical “Towns and Villages  of Trinidad and Tobago.”

In the 1990s his works included  “A Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago,” as well as a study of the Carnivals of Trinidad and Tobago.

In the new century his work included the novels ˙“High tide of Intrigue,” and “Butler to the Final Bell,” and “Anaparima,” a history of San Fernando and surroundings. His “Builders of the Nation” was published for Independence in 2012, and then the great floods suffered by the people of  Diego Martin that year led  him to write a novel of house-breaking, burglary, detection and escape called “The Briefcase.”  Just before this he published the first volume of “Trinidad and Tobago in the Twentieth Century.”

A serious motorcar accident he suffered in 2009 curtailed his literary activities but he has since written a second volume of “Trinidad and Tobago in the Twentieth Century.” He wants to launch this book in April or May this year.

After this book he wants to do an autobiography being 87 years old and wanting to close off everything. With this last volume of history he will have written 35 books.

(In 1979 he was awarded a Humming Bird Medal and in 2003 he was awarded a Doctorate from the University of the West Indies). The University of Trinidad and Tobago made a “Distinguished Person” award to him in 2016 and in 2012 he was presented with a Life Time Literary Award from the National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS).


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“One Book, One Community” Reading and Discussion Programme 2012

The_Stolen_Cascadura_ThumbThe National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) is pleased to announce that its   seventh annual One Book, One Community (OBOC) Nationwide Reading Project was launched on   April 18, 2012 at the Audio Visual Room at the National Library.

 This year’s selection is The Stolen Cascadura by Beverley Ann Scott. During the period April 18  to June 30, NALIS will invite the national community to borrow and read The Stolen  Cascadura and participate in discussions and other activities based on the book at public libraries  across the country.

The Stolen Cascadura is a work of fiction set in Trinidad in 2003. It revolves around characters from different cultural, ethnic and economic backgrounds, brought together by circumstances which change the course of their lives.

NALIS adopted the OBOC reading programme in 2005. This programme was first developed in Seattle, Washington, USA and has since been adopted by many libraries around the world.

Radio advertisement for One Book, One Community 2012

Since 2005 NALIS has featured the following books:

Night Calypso by Lawrence Scott – 2005
Miguel Street by Sir V.S. Naipaul – 2007
The Schoolmaster by Earl Lovelace – 2008
All That Glitters by Michael Anthony (D.Ltt) – 2009
Prospero’s Daughter by Dr. Elizabeth Nunez – 2010
Trinidad Noir edited by Jeanne Mason and Lisa Allen Agostini - 2011

To learn more about NALIS’ One Book, One Community Nationwide Reading Project, contact a public library or the Public Relations and Marketing Department at 624-4466 ext 2323


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Beverly_Ann_ScottBeverley-Ann Scott was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. She grew up in Marabella and attended St. Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando as well as St. Stephen’s College in Princes Town. She later went on to obtain a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Information Systems and Management from the University of London, School of Economics. Beverley-Ann worked in the banking and business sector for many years before deciding to pursue a career in medicine.

She graduated from of Our Lady of Fatima University, Manila, Philippines in 2009 where she obtained her Doctorate in Medicine. She is currently employed by the North Central Regional Health Authority and works as a House Officer in the Surgery Department of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.

She has worked as a feature writer for the Catholic News, a local Catholic weekly newspaper from 1999 to the present.

At this time she is one of the youngest authors of a complete and published work of fiction in the Caribbean at this time.

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“One Book, One Community” Reading and Discussion Programme 2011

Trinidad_Noir_OBOC_2011The National Library and Information System Authority is pleased to announce that Trinidad Noir, edited by Lisa Allen Agostini and Jeanne Mason, is NALIS’ selection for its One Book, One Community Nationwide Reading project for 2011.

Trinidad Noir is a collection of noir short stories written by eighteen authors, some well-known and some emerging. Among the authors are Kevin Baldeosingh, Shani Mootoo, Ramabai Espinet, Willi Chen, Lawrence Scott, Elizabeth Nunez, Robert Antoni, Vahni Capilldeo and Rian Marie Extavour.

All stories in Trinidad Noir are works of fiction set in Trinidad. The stories bring alive Trinidad’s topography and mirror its peoples and language.

Akashic Book’s noir series, originating with Brooklyn Noir in 2004, has since expanded to international titles such as Delhi Noir and Havana Noir. The core elements of noir fiction include crime, violence, sex, drugs, a protagonist with an ambiguous moral code, and a femme fatale.

The 6th edition of NALIS’ One Book, One Community Nationwide Reading Project was launched on April 26, 2011. Get into your library and join the discussions and other activities based on the book.

To learn more about NALIS One Book, One Community Nationwide Reading Project, contact a public library near you or call 624-4466 ext 2323.


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Lisa_Allen_Agostini_OBOC_2011Lisa Allen-Agostini is a Trinidadian writer and journalist. She is co-editor of Trinidad Noir (Akashic Books, 2008) and author of The Chalice Project (Macmillan Caribbean, 2008). A freelance journalist, she writes for Caribbean Beat magazine, the Caribbean Review of Books and other publications.

In 2009 she founded The Allen Prize for Young Writers, a not-for-profit company dedicated to the development of writers aged 12-19. She chairs the board of the company, which is expected to start giving prizes from September 2010.

Lisa has written and performed poetry since childhood. She won a national schools poetry writing competition in 1991 and this gave her further impetus to become a professional writer. She self-published a book of poems called Something to Say in 1992.

Her career as a journalist began at the Trinidad Express, where she was a feature writer and the editor of a weekly youth magazine, Vox. Moving to the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, she continued to write features, eventually becoming assistant editor of features. In 2001 she was awarded an Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship to The Washington Post and spent some five months as a journalist on the Style Desk there. She left the Guardian in 2007 as Internet editor.

Having been an actor with the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, she studied stagecraft and literature at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, while earning a BA in Literatures in English (First Class Hons). Her writing has reflected this experience and she has written a handful of plays, one of which was staged as a dramatic reading as part of a playwrighting workshop headed by Tony Hall, a Trinidad & Tobago theatre legend. Additionally, she has participated in poetry and fiction workshops with Wayne Brown, Merle Hodge, Raymond Ramcharitar and Funso Aiyejina, all highly esteemed Trinidadian authors.

As a poet she has toured Trinidad & Tobago with an ensemble of women writers called Ten Sisters. Her work appears on the group’s self-titled CD, published by FishInk Press.

Lisa writes in a variety of genres and voices, but is probably best known in her homeland for her weekly column, written in Trinidad Creole, in the Guardian.It ran from 2006-2010 and covered issues of governance, parenting, society, children’s rights, education, the arts and the economy, among others.

Lisa is the mother of two girls and is currently working on three manuscripts, one of them a young adult story and one a follow-up to The Chalice Project.

Contact information:

Lisa Allen-Agostini
Tel: 868 633 6128
Mobile: 868 753 6220
Email: trini.lise@gmail.com

Source: Lisa Allen-Agostini

Jeanne_Mason_2011Jeanne Mason came to Trinidad in 2002. She volunteered at St. Ann’s Primary School where she started a library and created her Pizzaquarium reading motivation program. She volunteered at NALIS where she conducted writing workshops for teachers, the children’s library and Carifesta IX, as well as drama workshops for the children’s and young adult libraries. She organized an adult writing group that met weekly at NALIS and from which seven participants have published. A resident of Trinidad and Tobago, she worked as a curriculum specialist for the Ministry of Education’s Monitoring Unit for Literacy Remediation where she gave writing workshops for teachers and edited various works, including the teacher-student collection Poetic Licence: Volume 1, The Dry Season.

Ms. Mason is the Turks and Caicos Islands correspondent for the online travel site Tripulu. She is the author of numerous short fictions in addition to biographies and non-fictions for tweens. She is currently writing a drama textbook series for a Caribbean publisher. Among her editing credits are: Trinidad Noir (Akashic 2008), Salt & Pines (RememberME!Media 2008), Brown Sugar and Spice by Betty Peter (Toute Bagai 2009), Unless I See by Gillian Rooks (2010), Mr. Big by Ty N. Batson (Infinity 2010), The Wonderful World of Myat by Omar Lewis (forthcoming 2011) and Daisy Chain by Elspeth Duncan (forthcoming Infinity 2011).

Source: Jeanne Mason


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  • Publishers Weekly, 6/2/2008

Edited by Lisa Allen-Agostini & Jeanne Mason. Akashic, $15.95 paper (340p) ISBN 978-1-933354-55-2The volumes in Akashic's locale-based noir anthology series set outside North America (Dublin Noir, etc.) offer more variety than those set in different major U.S. cities, and this one is no exception. The editors' brief but insightful introduction makes clear that the sun and sea tourist image of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is at odds with the country's “political climate of excess and corruption” and “an element of society afloat in drugs and guns.” While one entry, Robert Antoni's “How to Make Photocopies in the Trinidad & Tobago National Archives,” mostly comprising stream-of-consciousness letters to “mr. robot,” may be tough going for noir fans who prefer traditional storytelling, the other 17 stories are solid. The two standouts are Keith Jardim's mystical “The Jaguar” and Lawrence Scott's “Prophet,” in which a series of child disappearances in a small but corrupt community builds to an appropriately bleak ending. (Aug.)

  • Booklist

Trinidad Noir is the best of the international entries in Akashic’s series. Covering the entire island of Trinidad, the stories take readers from the steamy jungle countryside to the tropical beaches and on to the city streets of the capital, where political intrigue thrives. The stories evoke an atmosphere so strong the reader can practically feel the heat, smell the marijuana, and hear the calypso music. The authors do an especially good job with the dialogue, portraying the speech rhythms and slang of the distinctive Caribbean island.

  • The Caribbean Review of Books, May 2009

Trinidad has been dying for a book like this. A work of fiction that explicitly attempts — however successfully or not — to tackle the seemingly intractable problem of crime which has seen the island’s murder rate shatter records. Trinidad Noir is a contemporary book in the best sense: a collection of short stories that present snapshots of various aspects of everyday Trinidad and Tobago under one powerful, multi-faceted, and urgent theme.

The book forms part of New York publisher Akashic Books’ award-winning series of original noir anthologies, which include Havana Noir and Brooklyn Noir. The Akashic series may be aimed at a larger metropolitan audience outside the Caribbean region, an audience more accustomed to the distinctive noir genre. But one cannot deny the pregnant brilliance of taking noir and applying it to the problem of crime in Trinidad and Tobago.

This, then, is the heart of Trinidad Noir’s strengths and its complications. For while the stories here set about to tackle one thing, the collection as a whole raises implicit questions about cultural assumptions not easily dealt with or dispelled in a short review. What is noir? What are the limits of noir when applied to the problems that face Caribbean nations today? How far can noir be revised and updated before the genre is obliterated altogether? And do these stories work as noir stories? Or even as short stories, pure and simple? The reader, after 340 pages, may not have the answers to all of these questions. But she will certainly contemplate them and be tempted to conclude that the stories here are often more “Trinidad” than “noir,” more stylised and muted accounts of a harsh reality than entertaining crime stories.

The noir, in both its literary and film forms, developed mainly in the late 1930s. It involved narratives with strong plot drives (derived from hard-boiled crime fictions by the likes of American novelist Raymond Chandler), and emphasised moral ambiguity and powerful sexual motivations. The protagonist was often — or at all times — in the grip of physical danger. Chandler’s private eye Phillip Marlowe of The Big Sleep (1939) and Farewell, My Lovely (1940) tells us: “I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat, and a gun.”

The key component, though, was that sense of moral uncertainty. “Noir” was as much the blackness of evil as it was a dark nothingness; the negation of the moral compass altogether, as occurs in Carol Reed’s film The Third Man (1949), or Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (1958). Characters and their environment are often not what they appear to be or represent. Protagonists are often flawed yet oddly charismatic anti-heroes. There is often a femme fatale, a sexually attractive woman who may or may not be literally sleeping with the enemy. The settings are often cities populated by corrupt characters. For example, Chandler’s Los Angeles becomes, in the view of critic Robert F. Moss, “a city in which pornographers and gamblers operate under the protection of crooked policemen...a fallen world where glamorous appearances mask sordid deeds and everyone is a grifter.”

This sense of a fallen world is what the editors of Trinidad Noir appear to be aiming for: a paradise lost, a nightmare within what should be — at least in the view of foreigners — an idyll. “People think they know the Caribbean, the white-sandy-beaches-rum-and-Coca-Cola-smiling-natives-waving-palms Caribbean...But this...archipelago is filled with paradoxes,” co-editor Lisa Allen-Agostini explains in an introduction to these eighteen stories. “She isn’t always the idyllic tropical dream. Far from it. Sometimes she’s a nightmare.”

The stories that follow are divided into two sections: “Country” and “Town”. One by one they pick up and continue the threads of the noir genre. For instance, the use of landscape in the stories effectively transmits a sense of moral ambiguity; the island of Trinidad is physically dangerous even as it is attractive, just like its people. In several stories, including Oonya Kempadoo’s “Standing on Thin Skin”, the Northern Range is predominantly featured, but it is part of a possessive, dangerous landscape: “Now the hills, the hills. Beach. North coast. The road curving, curving. They have you...” Later, the protagonist of this story, which deals effectively with the dread of crime and the lure of the island, fears the ocean: “Currents kept nipping, tugging at my feet, digging ambush holes in the sand, pulling, ‘Come deeper. Bring your child out here.’”

Miss Ramsol in Robert Antoni’s playful “How to Make Photocopies in the Trinidad and Tobago National Archives” alludes to the moral ambiguity of her ancestors, noting in highly symbolic terms that they were leather workers who would “mutilate de hide of de sacred ox, but dat was bad & good.” Andre in Darby Maloney’s story “The Best Laid Plans” manages to rationalise committing a crime: “This is breaking and entering, he thought. No! Taking back my own money ent no crime.” Willi Chen’s “Betrayal” features a protagonist named Sabagal who has a “lust for power,” whose “greed thickened his blood to craftier ventures which became devilishly uncontrollable.” Yet the men who enact a form of vengeance on Sabagal are, a few lines later, described by Chen as “having eyes clouded by the dark undertones of evil.” The apparent victim of a crime in Kevin Baldeosingh’s story “The Rape” turns out to be a possibly willing participant — and the villain, we suspect, could easily become the victim. Who is good and who is bad is aptly lost in these narratives.

But the stories also attempt radical revisions to the noir genre, to mixed degrees of success. We have some potentially entertaining variations on the femme fatale, such as an homme fatale in Reena Andrea Manickchand’s “Dougla”, in which the male protagonist’s boyfriend betrays him in a climatic courtroom scene. The concept of the femme fatale as the tangential woman character on the fringes of the narrative, serving as a sex object and plot device, is turned on its head in Elisha Efua Bartels’s “Woman Is Boss”, a tale of ratiocination featuring a female journalist who juggles lovers as effectively as the archetypal male private eye. Ramabai Espinet also reaches for an intriguing bi-sexual homme fatale twist in her “Nowarian Blues”.

This survey already hints at one of the key problems the stories encounter en masse in their attempts to revise the noir. Because several of the writers appear to be presenting what are in fact neo-noirs or updates to the genre, the impact of their individual efforts is diminished. In some cases, like Elizabeth Nunez’s “Lucille”, the author goes so far that the story fails to remain noir, strictly speaking. In “Lucille” Nunez presents what is in fact a competently written, deeply felt coming-of-age story. But it really has no place in a noir book. Thus, at the story’s conclusion, Nunez — as though sensing the need to justify attempting to formulate a non-noir story as noir — didactically notes of Lucille: “hers is too much a Caribbean story, a story noir, not of guns and daggers, not of high crimes and misdemeanours that cause havoc on the corporeal frame, but a story noir nonetheless.”

The strongest stories here focus more on the mechanics of the short story form than on attempting to play with the genre. They include Allen-Agostini’s effective “Pot Luck”, Jaime Lee Loy’s “Bury Your Mother”, Kempadoo’s, Antoni’s, and Baldeosingh’s pieces, and Vahni Capildeo’s “Peacock Blue”, which starts off with a playful, personal, and sardonic noir tone and then resolves into an almost breathtakingly detached narrative, with a startling and gruesome climax.

Otherwise, too often the stories appear to display a misunderstanding of the short story form, a difficult form which demands economic expression, a tight control of the reader’s response, an elegant plot, and a strong ending. Too many of these stories, like Espinet’s, Manickchand’s, and Lawrence Scott’s “Prophet”, begin strongly, carry the reader through, and then falter in their endings. The short story can have a shocking ending, but when that happens it should still, paradoxically, be foreseen on some level by the reader. Even a story which sets out to defy the expectations of the reader at its conclusion must paradoxically fulfill that expectation, such as in the case of Kempadoo’s and Baldeosingh’s pieces.

The cumulative effect of all this is the sense of an ambitious collection which sometimes, but not always, fulfills its aims. The resultant fallout is that despite the earnest intentions of most of the authors to tackle crime head first, “crime” remains elusive, almost turned into a fetish, and lost beneath the attempts to emulate the noir as a genre. But, that said, when the stories in Trinidad Noir do work, they get Trinidad — if not noir — dead right.

--Andre Bagoo is a journalist working in Trinidad. In 2005 he was shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Writing Prize. He currently writes for Newsday.

  • Feminist Review, Saturday, November 29, 2008

When it comes to the Caribbean islands, many are inclined to see them only as a tropical hotspot for tourists. The people who actually live on those islands, which include nations like Trinidad, know better. The editors of Trinidad Noir make clear from the get-go that “Trinidad was founded on crime,” which has continued throughout the years with rampant prostitution, marijuana plantations, and corrupt police. For the sake of fiction writing, the violence, drug exchanges, and existential attitudes of island residents make for the perfect noir setting.

This book is an anthology of eighteen short, fictional stories from various authors, and deals with criminal activities and the lives of Trinidadians. While reading these stories, I was half-expecting to find conventions of classic noir that irritate me: the sole male anti-hero making his way through his dead end life, the besotted femme fatal. Fortunately, Allen-Agostini and Mason have collected stories with a neo-noir feel to accommodate modern readers. The stories deal with the different types of people who inhabit the island—men, women, foreigners, and citizens of many of different races and ethnicities—all sharing a similar kind of nihilistic despair.

The best thing fiction readers might get out of these stories is the ironic and unconventional endings. In Kevin Baldeosingh’s “The Rape,” two women shadow a jogger who they suspect to be the local rapist. You’re left wondering throughout the story if he actually is a rapist, and are also curious about the anti-heroines. The ending stays true to noir form in that it’s both shocking and disturbing. Another standout is Lawrence Scott’s “The Prophet,” which follows a journalistic investigation of children vanishing from a shady neighborhood...I think fans of noir will really enjoy this book.

Review by Farhana Uddin

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“One Book, One Community” Reading and Discussion Programme 2010

ENunez_Book_coverNALIS is pleased to announce that the Fifth Annual One Book, One Community reading project was launched on Wednesday April 14th, 2010 at the National Library and will run to June 18th, 2010 at libraries nationwide.  Our fifth selection is "Prospero's Daughter" by award winning author, Dr. Elizabeth Nunez.

The goal of One Book, One Community is to build a better community through reading and discussion. Through this programme, we hope to broaden perspectives, share thoughts and learn from each others' knowledge and experience.

Copies of the book will be available at all public libraries throughout Trinidad and Tobago.




ENunez_Book_coverProspero's Daughter was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, the 2006 Florida Center for the Literary Arts One Book, One Community selection, and the 2006 Novel of the Year for Black Issues Book Review. The book, set in Trinidad, explores race and class conflicts in 1960s Trinidad. Dr. Nunez does this by retelling Shakespeare's play “The Tempest”. Washington Post says of Prospero’s Daughter, “Vivid prose… The novel’s setting is wonderfully drawn… Nunez uses the Trinidad setting to great thematic effect.” The New York Times Book Review wrote, “Gripping and richly imagined; Nunez is a master at pacing and plotting.” Black Issues Book Review summarized the Prospero’s Daughter as such, “A story about the transformative power of love… Readers are sure to enjoy the journey.”

Dr. Nunez has written six other critically acclaimed novels. Her most recent novel, Anna In-Between was released September 2009. ; According to Ibrahim Ahmad, senior editor Akashic Books, this novel received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal and was given a laudable review in the New York Times (9/6/09) and selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice. ; Her other novels include: When Rocks Dance, Beyond the Limbo Silence, Bruised Hibiscus, Discretion and Grace. ; Discretion was short-listed for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Bruised Hibiscus won the 2001 American Book Award and Beyond the Limbo Silence was awarded the 1999 Independent Publishers Book Award in the multi-cultural category.

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“One Book, One Community” Reading and Discussion Programme 2009

All_that_Glitters1The Fourth Annual One Book, One Community nationwide reading project was launched on Tuesday March 24th 2009 and the programme ran from March 24th – April 30th 2009. Our fourth selection was "All That Glitters" by award winning author Michael Anthony.

The goal of One Book, One Community is to build a better community through reading and discussion.  Through this programme, we hope to broaden perspectives, share thoughts and learn from each others' knowledge and experience. Copies of the book are available at all public libraries throughout Trinidad and Tobago. 



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Michael_Anthony2I feel extremely happy and privileged to have NALIS choose a novel of mine for the One Book, One Community programme, and I feel especially happy that the book chosen should be a book set in my birthplace, Mayaro. 

This has brought me immense satisfaction because it was when I was a small boy in Mayaro, about 8 or 9 years old, that I first had the thought of being a writer. I don’t quite know why, but it may have been because I found Mayaro so exceptionally beautiful and wanted to tell something of it, but perhaps it was because I had a love for poems and stories. Maybe it was both things combined.

No need to say that the title of the book chosen, “All that Glitters,” comes from the saying: All that glitters is not gold. I would say, although this is hardly relevant, that this turn of phrase more than likely originated from Robert Dudley, who, whilst in Trinidad in 1595 was shown some marcazites in a river and later wrote: “They showed me some marcazites which were bright and shining, but all is not gold that glistereth and so we found the same nothing worth.”

The story of the book is about a loving sister who went to work in Panama and brought back a piece of gold, and quite apart from the “what next?” and “what next?” that helps spin a yarn I hope the story will reveal the subtle beauty of the Mayaro landscape, the fisher-folk who made the sea their livelihood, the coconut pickers for whom climbing the trees is no problem, and the quiet contentment of the villagers for whom Mayaro is sufficient in itself.

I greatly support the “One Book, One Community” programme of NALIS because a book appealing to a community does not only bring the community closer to the book but closer to itself. A novelist cannot prosper if in his mind’s eye the community does not exist, if there is nothing to say about the people among whom he lives.

I thank NALIS again and although it is true that all that glitters is not gold I trust there will always something golden when a community comes together in the name of a book.

Michael Anthony, 2009

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“One Book, One Community” Reading and Discussion Programme 2008

the_schoolmasterNALIS is pleased to announce that the Third Annual One Book, One Community nationwide reading project was officially launched on February 18, 2008. Our third selection is The School Master by Award winning author Earl Lovelace.

The goal of One Book, One Community is to build a better community through reading and discussion. Through this programme, we hope to broaden perspectives, share thoughts and learn from each others' knowledge and experience. Copies of the book are available at all public libraries throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

Contact your nearest library for book discussions and other activities or download a Schedule of Activities.



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earl_lovelaceEarl Lovelace was born in Toco, Trinidad in 1935 and spent his childhood in Tobago and Port of Spain. His first job was as a proofreader with the Trinidad Publishing Company. Later, he joined the Civil Service, serving first in the Forestry Department and then in the Department of Agriculture.

Lovelace's first novel, While Gods Are Falling, won him the BP Independence Literary Award which enabled him to study in the United States as visiting novelist at Howard University. His second novel, The Schoolmaster, drew on his experiences in rural Trinidad. The promise evident in these novels of the sixties was fulfilled in The Dragon Can't Dance and the Wine of Astonishment which a West African magazine argued “put him in the front rank of Caribbean writers”. This was followed by a collection of plays, Jestina's Calypso, published in 1984, and a short story collection, A Brief Conversation & Other Stories, published in 1988. Lovelace was awarded the 1997 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for his novel Salt.

Source: (http://users.ren.com/alana.interport/lovelace2.html)



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Author's Message

“I am very happy to be part of the One Book, One Community Nationwide Reading Project by way of my novel The Schoolmaster, a book that I owe to my years as a Forest Ranger in Valencia, when as a young man the treasury of the landscape opened up to me and I came to appreciate the folkways and the folk, the forest with its wealth of trees, mora, crappo, tapana, olivier, and carat roofed villages with still robust cocoa estates with fruit ripening under the shade of the immortelle. As you read The Schoolmaster now, I hope you get a sense of the folk of that place and time, their language, dignity and industry and enjoy the story which seeks to capture the poignancy of love and loss as dimensions of our human adventure.”

Earl Lovelace 2008


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About the Book

the_schoolmasterIn Kumaca, a remote Trinidadian village, life follows the same pattern from one generation to the next. Paulaine Dandrade wants to see progress, and helps to persuade the other villagers to build a school. But he never imagines that the arrival of the schoolmaster will bring violence and tragedy to his own family. The Schoolmaster is a story of love, hope and betrayal, and the nature and inevitability of change. - Heinemann




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From the Back Cover
"Earl Lovelace's second novel is modest in intent and succeeds through a kind of iron self-discipline and restraint in building up a highly compact and convincing diagram of the impingements of modern life…on a remote modern village in the interior of Trinidad which wants a school and a schoolmaster…Lovelace writes with a singularly truculent acuteness, both in narrative and in dialogue which captures West Indian speech rhythms so convincingly…The Schoolmaster is quite unlike anything a British author could produce, being its own enviable thing, absolutely." - Robert Nye, Guardian

"Earl Lovelace writes like a man who has just discovered language and is amazed. Each word is a revelation." -The Times

"A novelist of intelligence and sensibility." - Sunday Times


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Selected Works

A Selection of Works by Earl Lovelace

  • While Gods Are Falling. London: Collins, 1965.
  • The Schoolmaster. London: Collins, 1968.
  • The Dragon Can't Dance. London: Deutsch, 1979.
  • Wine of Astonishment. London: Deutsch, 1982.
  • Jestina's Calypso & Other Plays. London: Heinemann, 1984.
  • A Brief Conversation and Other Stories. Oxford: Heinemann, 1988.
  • Salt. London: Faber and Faber, 1996.

Literature on Earl Lovelace

  • Aiyejina, Funso. Self-portraits: interviews with ten West Indian writers and two critics. St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago : School of Continuing Studies, The University of the West Indies, 2003.
  • Lovelace, Earl. Growing in the dark: (selected essays). Ed. Funso Aiyejina.
  • San Juan, Trinidad and Tobago: Lexicon, 2003.
  • Meeks, Brian. Narratives of resistance: Jamaica, Trinidad, the Caribbean.
  • Barbados ; Kingston, Jamaica ; Trinidad and Tobago : The University of the West Indies Press, c2000.
  • O'Callaghan, Evelyn. The Lovelace `prologue': ideology in a nutshell.
  • Coventry: Centre for Caribbean Studies, University of Warwick, [198-]
  • Perez Sisto, Edith. Myth and ritual in Lovelace's The dragon can't dance.
  • 1993, July 21.


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“One Book, One Community” Reading and Discussion Programme 2007


NALIS launched its second community reading campaign, One Book, One Community, on Monday 22 January in the Audio Visual Room of the National Library Building. The One Book, One Community reading campaign is a nationwide programme which aims to promote a culture of reading.

From January to April 2007, everyone was invited to read Miguel Street by Nobel Laureate, Sir Vidia Naipaul, and participate in discussions and a series of activities and events organized by NALIS throughout the country.

The Minister of Education, the Honourable Hazel Manning, Mrs. Annette Wallace, the Executive Director of NALIS, and a representative of the author spoke at the launch, which also included dramatization of excerpts from the book, as well as, selected readings. Everyone was encouraged to participate in this exciting nation-wide project to promote community reading and discussion.

Copies of Miguel Street are available for loan at all NALIS Public Libraries across the country. Contact your local library for additional information.


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Biographical Note: Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul

Sir_Vidiadhar_NaipaulVidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was born in Chaguanas,Trinidad, in a family descended from immigrants from the north of India. His grandfather worked on a sugar cane plantation and his father was a journalist and writer, while his uncle Rudranath Capildeo was a noted scientist and politician.

Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul studied at Queen's Royal College in Port of Spain where he won a scholarship to the University College at Oxford. At the age of 18 Naipaul travelled to England where, after studying at University College at Oxford, he was awarded the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1953. From then on he continued to live in England (since the 70s in Wiltshire, close to Stonehenge) but he has also spent a great deal of time travelling in Asia, Africa and America. Apart from a few years in the middle of the 1950s, when he was employed by the BBC as a free-lance journalist, he has devoted himself entirely to his writing.

Naipaul's works consist mainly of novels and short stories, but also include some documentary work. He is, to a very high degree, a cosmopolitan writer, a fact that he himself considers to stem from his lack of roots: he is unhappy about the cultural and spiritual poverty of Trinidad, he feels alienated from India, and in England he is incapable of relating to and identifying with the traditional values of what was once a colonial power.

The events in his earliest books take place in the West Indies. A few years after the publication of his first work, The Mystic Masseur (1957), came what is considered by many to be one of his most outstanding novels, A House for Mr. Biswas (1961), in which the protagonist is modelled on the author's father.

After the success of A House for Mr. Biswas, Naipaul extended the geographical and social perspective of his writing to describe with increasing pessimism, the deleterious impact of colonialism and emerging nationalism on the third world. This is depicted in Guerrillas (1975) and A Bend in the River (1979), the latter being a portrayal of Africa that has been compared to Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

In his travel books and his documentary works, he presents his impressions of the country of his ancestors, India, in India : A Million Mutinies Now (1990), and also critical assessments of Muslim fundamentalism in non-Arab countries such as Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia and Pakistan in Among the Believers (1981) and Beyond Belief (1998).

The novels The Enigma of Arrival (1987) and A Way in the World (1994) are to a great extent autobiographical. In The Enigma of Arrival he describes how a landed estate in southern England and its proprietor, with a colonial background and afflicted by a degenerative disease, gradually decline before finally perishing. A Way in the World, which is a cross between fiction, memoirs and history, consists of nine independent but thematically linked narratives in which Caribbean and Indian traditions are blended with the culture encountered by the author when he moved to England at the age of 18.

V.S. Naipaul has been awarded a number of literary accolades, including the Booker Prize in 1971, the T.S. Elliot Award for Creative Writing in 1986 and the Trinity Cross in 1975. He is an honorary doctor of St. Andrew's College and Columbia University, and of the Universities of Cambridge, London and Oxford. In 1990 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth of England. In 2001 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for which he had been shortlisted since the 70's.



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Author's Message


I am most gratified that MIGUEL STREET, first published in 1959, should have been chosen almost half a century later - for the ONE BOOK, ONE COMMUNITY programme, whose purpose I warmly applaud.

Sir Vidia Naipaul, 2007

On behalf of the family

From a writer’s point of view it is indeed an important milestone of acceptance of one’s work by the community, especially from the community in which the writer hails. But perhaps even more significantly is the year in which this project is launched: it so happens that it is the centennial anniversary of my uncle’s birth – the late Seepersad Naipaul, the father of my first-cousin, Sir Vidiadhar Seepersad Naipaul. In many ways my cousin, Vidia, has become an extension of my uncle, in so far as was my uncle’s dreams and aspirations of becoming a writer. In many ways Vidia owes his success as a writer through this connection with his father, and from the community in which he hails. I hope that as readers turn the pages of Miguel Street with NALIS, this background information will be kept in mind.

With kind regards,
Balkrishna Naipaul, 2007



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Miguel_Street_BackCover1From the Back Cover -
“One of the few contemporary writers of whom we can speak in terms of greatness.” - Mel Gussow, Newsday

“Miguel Street is the Bowery, the Tenderloin, and the Catfish Row of Trinidad’s Port of Spain–its citizens a loony multitude whose knavery often rises from real kinship with pathos and tragedy....Naipaul is at his best in these swift caricatures of human depravity.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Amusing and poignant....Excellent reading.” Chicago Tribune

“Naipaul does not tell stories. By some miraculous sleight-of-hand he takes you to Port of Spain and shows you the rich, bawdy, consequential lives of the Trinidadians, as though there were no intervening veil of words....I rather suspect the mantle of Chekhov has fallen on Mr. Naipaul’s shoulders.” - Robert Payne, Saturday Review



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Selected Works

A Selection of Works by V.S. Naipaul

  • The Mystic Masseur. London: Deutsch, 1957.
  • Miguel Street. London: Deutsch, 1959.
  • A House for Mr. Biswas. London: Deutsch, 1961.
  • The Middle Passage: Impressions of Five Societies - British, French and Dutch in the West Indies and South America. London: Deutsch, 1962.
  • Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion. London: Deutsch, 1963.
  • A Flag on the Island. London: Deutsch, 1967.
  • The Loss of El Dorado: A History. London: Deutsch, 1969.
  • In a Free State. London: Deutsch, 1971.
  • The Overcrowded Barracoon and Other Articles. London: Deutsch, 1972.
  • Guerrillas. London: Deutsch, 1975.
  • India: A Wounded Civilization. London: Deutsch, 1977.
  • A Bend in the River. London: Deutsch, 1979.
  • A Congo Diary. Los Angeles, CA: Sylvester & Orphanos, 1980.
  • Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey. London: Deutsch, 1981.
  • The Enigma of Arrival. London: Viking, 1987.
  • India: A Million Mutinies Now. London: Heinemann, 1990.
  • A Way in the World. London: Heinemann, 1994.
  • Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples. London: Little, Brown, 1998.
  • Reading and Writing: A Personal Account. New York: New York Review of Books, 2000.
  • Half a life. London: Picador, 2001.

Literature on V.S. Naipaul

  • Theroux, Paul, V.S. Naipaul: an introduction to his work. London: Deutsch, 1972.
  • Hamner, Robert, V.S. Naipaul. New York: Twayne, 1973.
  • Critical perspectives on V.S. Naipaul. Ed. Robert D. Hamner. London: Heinemann, 1979.
  • Nightingale, Peggy, Journey through darkness: the writing of V.S. Naipaul. St. Lucia: Univ. of Queensland Press, 1987.
  • Hughes, Peter, V.S. Naipaul. London: Routledge, 1988.
  • Jarvis, Kelvin, V.S. Naipaul: a selective bibliography with annotations, 1957-1987. Metuchen, N. J.: Scarecrow, 1989.
  • Kelly, Richard, V.S. Naipaul. New York: Continuum, 1989.
  • Weiss, Timothy F., On the margins: the art of exile in V.S. Naipaul. Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1992.
  • Dissanayake, Wimal, Self and colonial desire: travel writings of V.S. Naipaul. New York: P. Lang, 1993.
  • King, Bruce, V.S. Naipaul. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1993.
  • Levy, Judith, V.S. Naipaul: displacement and autobiography. New York: Garland, 1995.
  • Conversations with V.S. Naipaul. Ed. Feroza Jussawalla. Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1997.
  • Khan, Akhtar Jamal, V.S. Naipaul: a critical study. New Delhi: Creative Books, 1998.
  • Theroux, Paul, Sir Vidia's shadow: a friendship across five continents. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.


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“One Book, One Community” Reading and Discussion Programme 2005

night_calypsoThe National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) launched its first One Book, One Community project on Monday 19th September 2005, 10:00 a.m. at the 1st Floor Seminar Room, National Library of Trinidad and Tobago.

The One Book, One Community project is a countrywide reading and discussion programme that encourages all persons to read the same book at the same time to create a countrywide book club. Discussions were held during National Library Week, October 24th to 29th, 2005.

The selected book for this project is Night Calypso by local author, Lawrence Scott. Copies of the book are available at all Public Libraries throughout the NALIS Library System.



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Lawrence Scott: Biographical Note

Lawrence Scott is from Trinidad & Tobago. His first novel Witchbroom (Hbk. Allison & Busby, 1992; Pbk. Heinemann, 1993) was short-listed for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, 1993 for Best First Book in Canada & the Caribbean. It was also a BBC Book At Bed Time, 1993.

This was followed by a collection of short stories Ballad for the New World (Pbk. Heinemann 1994) including the prize-winning short story The House of Funerals (The Society of authors’ Tom-Gallon Award 1986) Allison & Busby published Aelred’s Sin (Opbk 1998) which won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in Canada & the Caribbean 1999. Night Calypso, his most recent novel (pbk Allison & Busby 2004) was also shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Best Book in Canada & the Caribbean, 2005 and was published in France as Calypso de Nuit in June 2005.

His short stories have been read on the BBC and have been anthologised internationally and notably in Caribbean New Wave (Heinemann 1990) God an anthology of fiction (Serpent’s tail 1992), The Penguin Book of Caribbean Short Stories (Penguin Books 1996) and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories (Oxford University Press 1999). He has also published poetry in a number of anthologies and journals: Caribbean New Voices 1 (Longman 1995), Trinidad & Tobago Review, Cross/Cultures 60 (Editons Rodopi B.V. Amsterdam –NewYork, NY 2002, Agenda 2002-2003).

He resides in London but visits Trinidad frequently and was Writer in Residence at the University of the West Indies in 2004. He divides his time between writing and teaching Literature and Creative Writing.




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Author’s Message

I am honoured to have my novel, Night Calypso, chosen for the NALIS project, One Book, One Community. All my books arise out of my emotional, intellectual and political involvement and commitment to Trinidad & Tobago and all its communities that make it one community. My books are rooted in its landscape, language and cultural life.

I could not write without Trinidad. Night Calypso has also grown out of this deep involvement. It seeks to imagine a time that was an historical and political watershed in the development of our islands. It was a time when, in the revolution of the 1930s, and 1940s, Africans, Indians, and in the person of Captain A.A. Cipriani, white creoles fought for a common endeavour. Against this background, the book looks at the world at war during World War 2, as it explores the complexities of human love, human cruelty and the need for healing, self-healing and communal healing. My Dr. Metivier, my boatman Jonah, my pharmacist Krishna Singh and my orphan boy Theo are rooted in a Trinidad I know very well. Other characters are imagined through research and I must thank many Trinidadians and libraries for help with that. My island El Caracol, based on the island of Chacachacare, is an island blazing in my mind.

I am also a teacher as well as a writer. I taught at Aranjuez Junior Secondary School in the 1970s and 1980s. As a teacher and a writer I want to support this project, as I have always believed as a teacher of literature in the wonderfully liberating experience of reading novels. It is through them that we can imagine ourselves and others more fully; through them we inhabit the other.

Libraries are liberating institutions and we are lucky to have such a wonderful one in Port-of-Spain. But all the other libraries are also so important to have in our communities. I have vivid memories as a child at Boys’ School using the San Fernando Library on Library Corner, as we all called it, right there at the top of High Street. A community reading its own literature together is a wonderful idea!

I hope the project is hugely successful and I congratulate all the organisers and librarians of Trinidad & Tobago. May there be many more such projects.

© Lawrence Scott 2005
London 15/09/05



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Praise for Lawrence Scott’s Night Calypso: British, American & European Reviews

"He writes with an almost painterly precision about the look of things - the breaking of dawn, the power of the hurricane, the smell of fish, the changes in light and the mood of the sea.... Night Calypso is unique in being a serious, knowledgeable and beautifully written treatise about a little-known corner of experience and its relationship to a wider world." - The Guardian Review

"Scott is an accomplished storyteller who weaves narrative strands together with great skill and historical erudition. Night Calypso adds to the potent canon of the Caribbean novel tradition and gives us history and struggle in the most amenable of forms. It is an educative, startling and moving reading experience." - Chris Searle Morning Star

"Scott has real genius….This immensely rewarding novel must surely be a contender for the next Booker shortlist." - David Mc Laurin The Tablet

"Discontent and a dark sense of the other press in on the pre-war El Caracol...evocative of an era of tumultuous political and social change as it is of life in the West Indies." - The Scotsman

"A stunning, uplifting, galvanic novel. A mesmeric masterpiece.The Good Book Guide

"As radios crackle with news of World War11 and feelings of civil unrest simmer on El Caracol, young Theo relives a childhood of physical abuse in a heart breaking nocturnal calypso. His searing stories haunt Doctor Metivier, prompting painful recollections from the doctor’s privileged past." - Booklist

"This is a haunting and lyrical novel. The voices, histories and heartaches of the island’s people form a hymn to the complex legacy of empire. Pauline Diamond" - Ink Magazine

"As always in Scott’s work, the voice of Theo takes on the cadences, the ellipses, the rhythms of the experience he re-enacts -so we don’t just read it- we hear it as well as smell it, feel it, see it. But what I shall remember are the wonderful moments of tenderness-the turtle laying her eggs on a beach at night and the gentle washing of a boy in seawater." - Melissa Marsh - at the London Launch at The Institute of Commonwealth Studies

"There is an impressive symbiosis between personal and world suffering and world suffering and an obvious, though implicit, parallel between the holocaust and the extermination of the Carib Indians as well as between these and the plantation master’s sadism. It evinces a cross-culturalism rooted in the individial and humanity’s nature, his/its capacity for good and evil." - European Review: Hena Maes-Jelinek

"The redemptive power of storytelling – its ability to help heal the wounds of history is at the heart of this new work from Lawrence Scott. Scott conveys this with elegance and power." - Michael Niblett Wasafiri

Praise for Lawrence Scott’s Night Calypso: Trinidad and Tobago Reviews

"Night Calypso by Lawrence Scott“It was with a sense of personal satisfaction that I acknowledge the way in which the calypso is privileged as the social archive of the period. Night Calypso is an eminently readable narrative thoroughly enjoyable as an adventure into imagination." - Louis Regis Trinidad &Tobago Review

“Scott won a Commonwealth Writers Prize for his second novel Aelred’s Sin. He brings the same mix of magic and craft to Night Calypso, creating solid characters, a vivid place and a compelling moving story.” - Caribbean Beat

“A uniquely imaginative writer of landscape and character. At the heart of this book, it’s about fathers and sons”.... “tradition and faith” versus “science and religion.” - The Trinidad Sunday Guardian

“Scott has written with great sensitivity on the complex nature of love and has created through the strengths, the cowardice, the guilt, and the humanity of Vincent Metivier a portrait of such complexity, honesty and ambiguity that it can only be seen as true.” - Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw - The Trinidad Sunday Guardian

“What makes Scott a wonderful writer and a writer’s writer is his ability to explore and expose the complexities, imperfections and contradictions in human nature, to hear the voices of his characters so accurately and to construct compelling tales in richly textured prose.” - Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw at the Trinidad Launch of Night Calypso 25th April 2004 also in Trinidad Sunday Guardian

“Scott is able to strip characters to their souls. No other West Indian writer I know is so adept at presenting an important West Indian conflict: the struggle between the sacred and the profane.” - Debbie Jacob - Trinidad Express