Posts Tagged ‘All Decent Animals’

Oonya Kempadoo’s “All Decent Animals” Makes Oprah’s 2013 Summer Reading List

“How am I only now finding out about this writer?” writes Karen Russell for Oprah’s Summer Reading List in O, The Oprah Magazine. “It’s as if she’s inventing her own language, which is incantatory, dense, and lush. The authority and blood pulse of it seduced me. The novel is set in Trinidad, amid the circus-like world of Carnival. You’re a hostage in that island world — there’s nowhere to go, but you’re happy about it.” The influential list is part of Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.

Oonya Kempadoo (Photo: Greg Bal)

Oonya was guest speaker during my Spice Isle Writing & Yoga Retreat in Grenada just weeks before the publication of All Decent Animals. (Read my earlier interview with Oonya.) Her warm manner, candidness about her writing journey, and readings from an earlier novel and a work-in-progress made a lasting impression on the group, particularly her encouragement to “write from the defining moments” of our lives. We’re thrilled for her that her book is garnering positive reviews.

Oonya was also recently awarded a grant under the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence program to teach at two community colleges in Connecticut beginning in September.

Goodreads has this to say about her latest book:

“Oonya Kempadoo’s moving third novel, All Decent Animals, looks at the personal and aesthetic choices of a multifaceted cast of characters on the Caribbean island of Trinidad — a country still developing economically but rich culturally, aiming at “world-class” status amid its poor island cousins. It is a novel about relationships, examined through the distinct rhythms of the city of Port of Spain.

“Loyalties, love, conflicting cultures, and creativity come into play as Ata, a young woman working in carnival design but curious about writing, and her European boyfriend, Pierre, negotiate the care of their friend Fraser, a closeted gay man dying from AIDS. The contradictory Trinidadian setting becomes a parallel character to Fraser’s Cambridge-derived artistic sensibility and an antagonist to Ata’s creative journey.

“All Decent Animals is a forthright inquiry into the complexity of character, social issues, and island society, with all the island’s humor, mysticism, and tragedy.”

Read “Taste and See,” an excerpt from All Decent Animals, in Caribbean Beat (Issue 121, May/June 2013).

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013

“Living in That Moment”: Interview with Grenada-based novelist Oonya Kempadoo

Oonya Kempadoo (photo: Greg Bal)

Oonya Kempadoo (photo: Greg Bal)

OONYA KEMPADOO will be guest author for my Spice Isle Writing & Yoga Retreat, coming up April 7 to 14, 2013, at Petite Anse Hotel on the island of Grenada.

Oonya has lived most of her life in various Caribbean islands and currently lives in St. George’s, Grenada. Her first novel, Buxton Spice (1998), was longlisted for the Orange Prize and translated into six languages. Her second novel, Tide Running, won a Casa de las Américas 2002 prize and was well received on both sides of the Atlantic. Oonya was named “a Great Talent for the 21st Century” by the Orange Prize judges and both books were nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2011 Oonya was awarded a fellowship for the International Writing Program at The University of Iowa, and her next novel, All Decent Animals, will be published in spring 2013 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, USA). She is currently completing a non-fiction narrative of local perspectives of sexual abuse, and a film adaptation of Tide Running. She has worked with UNICEF and UNAIDS as a consultant and researcher, and has been tempted by travel writing and agricultural journalism.

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Monday, March 11th, 2013