Top Jamaican Authors

by Devin for My-Island-Jamaica.com


From the dawn of civilization, man has been an author in his own way, with testimony of his writings found engraved on the walls of caves, on the trunks of trees and later on scrolls. As the years rolled by, man found a way to not only express himself in speech and writing but also in documenting and producing his work for posterity.


The years of slavery brought with it a new way of expression throughout the Caribbean, where man began to express himself through songs, odes and poetry, dance and movement, story-telling and miming.

The Jamaicans were no exception to this and were soon on their way to documenting and publishing their work. They had a lot to write, sing, mime and talk about, as their lives on the plantations took on new meaning.

Jamaica has been home to a number of authors, according to documented evidence as far back as the early 1920’s. Some of the notable ones includes:

Andrew Salkey
Anthony C Winkler
Brian Meeks
Carolyn Cooper
Cedella Marley-Booker
Claude McKay
Colin Channer
Evan Jones
Glen Johnson
Honor Ford-Smith
Hugh B. Cave
John Cameron
John Edgar Colwell Hearne
John Figueroa
Kei Miller
Kellie Magnus
Kim Robinson-Walcott
Lorna Goodison
M. G. Smith
Makeda Silvera
Margaret Cezair-Thompson
Marlon James
Mary Anne Barker
Maurice Broaddus
Mervyn Morris
Michelle Cliff
Nalo Hopkinson
Oku Onuora
Olive Senior
Opal Palmer Adisa
Pamela Mordecai
Patricia Duncker
Patricia Powell
Patrick Wilmot
Paul Young
Peter Abrahams
Rachel Manley
Robert Wedderburn
Roger Mais
Steven E McDonald
Sylvia Wynter
Trevor D. Rhone
Una Marson
Valerie Bloom
Victor Headley
Yasus Afari

The list of Jamaican authors is an extensive one but not much is documented except for a few biographies of more the recent authors, many of whom resides in other countries but still give credit to their homeland. Some of the books written by Jamaican authors have made it to the screen and many have been used in the classrooms as a collection of short stories and poems in Literature both in the Jamaica and other Caribbean nations.

Like other countries, Jamaica produces many authors who write children’s literature which are age and gender appropriate. These authors ensure that the material covered in the text is not only applicable to the children’s language development but also allow their experiences and native tongue to help them understand and conjure up in their minds the images the author wishes for them to visualize. This is the same for those who do the storytelling or write poetry pieces for the children.

The following are some of the notable childrens' writers.

Andrew Salkey
Billy Elm
Cedella Marley
Cherrell Shelley-Robinson
Curdella Forbes
Diane Browne
Everard Palmer
Hazel Campbell
James Berry
Jean D’Costa 
Linda Gambrill
Lorrimer A. Burford
Maria Roberts-Squires
Martin Mordecai
Michael Holgate
Vic Reid 

Authors of adult literature, both fiction and non-fiction, covers a vast number of topics ranging from stories, novels, poetry and quotes to politics, recipes, autobiographies and biographies. Not only are Jamaicans into writing, but they have also gone into publishing their own materials and many have gone into editing and proofreading.

Now a number of authors have sprung up all over the island, both young and old, each having a number of books to their name.

Whether it is a collection of poetry, novels, fiction or non-fiction writings, Jamaican authors have made their mark and are still riding high on the readers’ list as our cultural mix and language have blended themselves into an awesome concoction that leaves the readers spell-bound and wanting more.

Our experiences, both private and personal, our island and our people have been great inspirations to many a writer and has intrigued many who read, study or evaluate the material. Jamaicans, whether on the tracks, in the dancehall or on the stage, they were never on the back burner and neither are they as it relates to the field of writing.

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