If I Could Write This in Fire

An Anthology of Literature from the Caribbean

“Insightful. . . . Like the Caribbean itself, this anthology is multifaceted, with a tantalizing variety of distinct textures and flavors.” —Quarterly Black Review

In this unprecedented collection, Pamela Maria Smorkaloff brings together fiction from the French-, Spanish-, and English-speaking Caribbean, much of it translated here for the first time. The book’s wide-ranging and diverse selections address the central themes of the region’s literature: the plantation, maroon society, colonial education, rural and urban life, women’s changing roles in the modern Caribbean, exile, and the diaspora. Works include Jamaican author James Carnegie’s powerful novella Wages Paid about a day in the life of a slave plantation, a selection by noted Guadeloupan novelist Simone Schwarz-Brat, Puerto Rican short stories from Ana Lydia Vega, and fiction from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, St. Kitts, and Barbados. Together they offer the first picture of a Caribbean voice and aesthetic, and an extensive bibliography of further reading invites students, scholars, and others to explore beyond this initial collection.

From Columbus’ diaries on, the Caribbean has been the scene onto which a steady stream of myths has been imposed If I Could Write This in Fire offers the first collection of authentic Caribbean voices—a small set of gems that will introduce readers to a rich and lyric tradition.