Phyllis Shand Allfrey
Early life and family background
Born in Roseau, Dominica, West Indies, in 1915, she was the daughter of Francis Byam Berkeley Shand by his marriage to Elfreda Nicholls and was baptized Phyllis Byam. Her father was a member of a distinguished white settler family long established in Roseau, and with roots in the West Indies going back to the 17th century. Phyllis later described herself as "a West Indian of over 300 years' standing, despite my pale face". Her earliest ancestor in the West Indies was Lieutenant General William Byam, a Royalist officer who in 1644 defended Bridgwater against a parliamentary force. Imprisoned in the Tower of London, he was permitted to migrate to the West Indies. After the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660, he was granted estates in Antigua.
Life and career
Phyllis Shand married Robert Allfrey, an Englishman, and they had five children, including their adopted son, Robbie, from a Carib reservation. Their daughter Phina was killed in a motor accident in Rhodesia.
In politics, Allfrey founded the Dominica Labour Party. On the formation of the West Indies Federation, this was affiliated to the West Indies Federal Labour Party, and in 1958 she was elected to the new West Indies legislature, representing Dominica. Within weeks she was serving in the government of Sir Grantley Adams as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and was the only woman minister of the new Federation.
She edited the Dominica Herald and also published and wrote for another newspaper, The Dominica Star, which was in being between 1965 and 1982.
- In Circles (poems, 1940)
- Palm and Oak (poems, 1950)
- The Orchid House (1953)
- Anne Commire, Deborah Klezmer, Women in world history: a biographical encyclopedia vol. 1 (1999), p. 236
- Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Phyllis Shand Allfrey: a Caribbean life (Rutgers University Press, 1996), p. 6
- Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Introduction to Phyllis Shand Allfrey, The Orchid House (1996 edition), p, vi
- UF00072476 at dloc.com
- It Falls Into Place (Papillote Press, 2004, ISBN 0-9532224-1-1)
- Selwyn Reginald Cudjoe, Caribbean women writers: essays from the first international conference, p. 120
- 1st ed. by Constable, 1953; new edition by Virago, 1982
- "O Stay and Hear" (short story by Allfrey published in the August 2004 Caribbean Review of Books
- The Dominica Star is freely and fully available in the Digital Library of the Caribbean