Earl Lovelace

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For the peerage, see Earl of Lovelace.

Earl Lovelace (born 13 July 1935) is an award-winning Trinidadian novelist, journalist, playwright, and short story writer. He is particularly recognized for his descriptive, dramatic fiction on Trinidadian culture: "Using Trinidadian dialect patterns and standard English, he probes the paradoxes often inherent in social change as well as the clash between rural and urban cultures."[1]

Biography[edit]

Born in Toco, Trinidad and Tobago, Earl Lovelace was sent to live with his grandparents in Tobago at a very young age, but rejoined his family in Toco when he was 11 years old. His family later moved to Belmont, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and then Morvant.[2] Lovelace attended Scarborough Methodist Primary School, Scarborough, Tobago (1940–47), Nelson Street Boys, R.C., Port of Spain (1948), and Ideal High School, Port of Spain (1948–53, where he sat the Cambridge School Certificate). He worked at the Trinidad Guardian as a proofreader from 1953 to 1954, and then for the Department of Forestry (1954-6) and the Ministry of Agriculture (1956–66).

He began writing while stationed in the village of Valencia as a forest ranger.[2] In 1962 his first novel, While Gods Are Falling, won the Trinidad and Tobago Independence literary competition sponsored by British Petroleum (BP).

From 1966 to 1967, Lovelace studied at Howard University, Washington, DC, and in 1974 he received an MA in English from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, where he was also Visiting Novelist. In 1980, he became a visiting writer at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He taught at Federal City College (now University of the District of Columbia), Washington, DC (1971-3), and from 1977 to 1987 he lectured in literature and creative writing at the University of the West Indies at St Augustine. He was appointed Writer-in-Residence in England by the London Arts Board (1995-6), a visiting lecturer in the Africana Studies Department at Wellesley College, Massachusetts (1996-7), and was Distinguished Novelist in the Department of English at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington (1999–2004).

He is a columnist for the Trinidad Express, and has contributed to a number of periodicals, including Voices, South, and Wasafiri. Based in Trinidad, while teaching and touring various countries, he was appointed to the Board of Governors of the University of Trinidad and Tobago in 2005, the year his 70th birthday was honoured with a conference and celebrations at the University of the West Indies.

Lovelace is the subject of a new documentary film by Funso Aiyejina entitled A Writer In His Place.[3]

Family[edit]

Lovelace has three daughters and two sons. His artist son Che Lovelace illustrated the jacket of the 1997 US edition of his novel Salt.[4] Earl Lovelace collaborated with his filmmaker daughter Asha Lovelace on writing the film Joebell and America,[5] based on his short story of the same title.

Awards[edit]

Selected works[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • While Gods Are Falling, London: Collins, 1965; Chicago,IL: Regnery, 1966.
  • The Schoolmaster, London: Collins, 1968.
  • The Dragon Can't Dance, London: André Deutsch, 1979.
  • The Wine of Astonishment, Oxford: Heinemann, Caribbean Writers Series, 1983; new 2010 edition includes CSEC specific study notes. ISBN 978-0-435-03340-8
  • Salt (winner of Commonwealth Writers' Prize), London: Faber & Faber, 1996; New York: Persea Books, 1997.
  • Is Just a Movie, London: Faber & Faber, January 2011. ISBN 0-571-25567-1.

Short-story collection[edit]

  • A Brief Conversion and Other Stories, Oxford: Heinemann, 1988.

Play collection[edit]

  • Jestina's Calypso and Other Plays, Oxford: Heinemann, 1984.

Essay collection[edit]

  • Growing in the Dark. Selected Essays (ed. Funso Aiyejina; San Juan, Trinidad: Lexicon Trinidad, 2003).

Plays and musicals[edit]

  • The New Boss, 1962.
  • My Name Is Village, produced in Port of Spain, Trinidad, at Queen's Hall, 1976.
  • Pierrot Ginnard (musical drama), produced in Port of Spain, Trinidad, at Queen's Hall, 1977.
  • Jestina's Calypso, produced in St Augustine, Trinidad, at the University of the West Indies, 1978.
  • The Wine of Astonishment (adapted from his novel), performed in Port of Spain, Trinidad; Barbados, 1987.
  • The New Hardware Store, produced at University of the West Indies, 1980. Produced in London, England, by Talawa Theatre Company, at the Arts Theatre, 1987.
  • The Dragon Can't Dance (adapted from his novel), produced in Port of Spain, Trinidad, at Queen's Hall, 1986. Published in Black Plays: 2, ed. Yvonne Brewster, London: Methuen, 1989. Produced in London at Theatre Royal Stratford East, by Talawa Theatre Company, with music by Andre Tanker, 29 June - 4 August 1990.
  • The Reign of Anancy, performed in Port of Spain, Trinidad, 1989.
  • Joebell and America, produced in Lupinot Village, Trinidad, 1999.

Other[edit]

  • Crawfie the Crapaud (for children), Longman, 1998.
  • Joebell and America (film, co-written with and directed by Asha Lovelace; Trinidad: Caribbean Communications Network, premiered TV6, Trinidad, 2004).

Further reading[edit]

  • Aiyejina, Funso (ed.), A Place in the World: Essays and Tributes in Honour of Earl Lovelace @ 70. University of the West Indies, Trinidad, 2008.
  • Aiyejina, Funso. “Salt: A Complex Tapestry”, Trinidad and Tobago Review 18.10-12 (1996): 13-16.
  • Dalleo, Raphael. "Cultural Studies and the Commodified Public: Luis Rafael Sánchez's La guaracha del Macho Camacho and Earl Lovelace's The Dragon Can't Dance", Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere: From the Plantation to the Postcolonial, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011.
  • Hodge, Merle, "The Language of Earl Lovelace", in Anthurium, Vol. 4, Issue 2, Fall 2006.
  • Raja, Masood Ashraf. "We Is All People: The Marginalized East-Indian and the Economy of Difference in Lovelace’s The Dragon Can’t Dance". Caribbean Studies 34 (1): 111–130. 2006. 
  • Schwarz, Bill (ed.), Caribbean Literature after Independence: The Case of Earl Lovelace. London: Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2008. ISBN 978-1-900039-91-8
  • Thomas, H. Nigel. "From ‘Freedom’ to ‘Liberation’: An Interview with Earl Lovelace", World Literature Written in English, 31.1 (1991): 8-20.

References[edit]

External links[edit]