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BIOGRAPHIES D-F

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  • Ralph de Boissiere
  • Elspeth Duncan
  • Linda Edwards
  • Elma Francois

RALPH DE BOISSIERE (1907- 2008) 
In 1930s Trinidad, de Boissière together with other ambitious young writers like CLR James, Albert Gomes and Alfred Mendes, produced one of Trinidad’s first literary magazines titled The Beacon. Most of the short stories and articles that he produced for this magazine have been lost. Unable to find work in Trinidad because of his leftist political activities, de Boissiere migrated with his family to Australia in 1948. His first two novels Crown Jewel (1952) and Rum and Coca Cola (1956), were first published in Australia by the Australasian Book Society, but portray Trinidad society in the 1930s and 1940s. They remained virtually unknown until reprinted in the 1980s by London publishers Allison and Busby.   

De Boissiere wrote five novels, over eighteen short stories, and a number of plays, including a West Indian musical drama, Calypso Isle, which played to full houses at The New Theatre in Melbourne in 1955. His autobiography, Life on the Edge, which de Boissiere completed at the grand old age of 100, was published posthumously in 2010 by Lexicon Trinidad Limited. According to Professor Kenneth Ramchand at the 2007 graduation ceremony of the University of Trinidad and Tobago in which an honorary doctorate was conferred on de Boissière: "This autobiography is also of huge social, political and cultural significance: it makes us see and imagine ourselves in our landscape and history for a full one hundred years."

De Boissiere has been praised by literary critics as one of the founders of the West Indian literary tradition and one of Trinidad’s most important political novelists. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Literature from the University of Trinidad and Tobago. De Boissiere was honoured with a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award in 2012.

ELSPETH DUNCAN

Elspeth DuncanElspeth Duncan is a multimedia artist with a BA in English Literature (UWI, St. Augustine) and a MPhil in Criminology (University of Cambridge, England). Upon her return to Trinidad, she worked for nine years as a senior copywriter with two top advertising companies after which she left to pursue her multimedia career (writing, photography, film making, music).

From childhood up to her mid teens, Elspeth would write novels in various sizes of copybooks and give them to her parents and two younger sisters as Christmas and birthday gifts. In the years that followed, her work has included poetry and song lyrics, the beginnings of a novel written in French, articles for local, regional and international publications and scripts for film and theatre. Two of her jointly-written theatre scripts were nominated for Cacique Awards and in 2007, her play “A Special Place” was selected as one of four winners by NDATT. In 2008 she was one of 10 writers selected for a continuation of a writing workshop with Professor Elizabeth Nunez and one of 12 Caribbean writers selected for the three-week Cropper Foundation Residential Writer’s Retreat in Balandra.

LINDA EDWARDS

US based, Trinidadian born author and poet Linda Edwards writes frequently on issues pertinent to Trinidad and Tobago, and has published work in all three major newspapers. She is a graduate of the University of The West Indies, St. Augustine, class of 1967, and earned a masters degree from the University of Delaware. She has two published novels, ''Coin of Gold'' (2001) and ''The Sun, The Snow, The Sea'' (2005). The second was launched at the National Library in 2005.

''One Women’s View '' is the first offering of her poetry in Trinidad and Tobago. She has read her works at the Arts Festival of The Fulbright Association in Houston, TX, and at The Women's Collective Works, Houston. She has been an educator, a company manager, a training consultant and is active in promoting intercultural awareness in Houston. As a member of the board of the Fulbright Association, Houston, Mrs. Edwards has travelled extensively and is currently working on producing a CD of her poetry.

ELMA FRANCOIS

Elma FrancoisLeftwing political activist Elma Francois was born October 14, 1897, in St. Vincent. She tried to organize her fellow workers in Mount Bentick sugar factory, and in 1919, she left St. Vincent and migrated to Trinidad. Later, she joined Captain Cipriani’s Labour Movement, but dissatisfied with the progress being achieved, she became a founding member of the National Unemployed Movement and its more radical successor, the Negro Welfare, Cultural and Social Association, to which she devoted the rest of her life. She was a great companion-in-arms of Uriah Butler.

Source:

Anthony, Michael. Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. London: The Scarecrow Press, 1977. 237.