Before publication, before writing even, it is the unconscious urge to share stories with humanity that compels me. And it is a sharing wrapped up in reading–voices from all over the world. This way of connecting and speaking with people, wherever they are, through translation and beyond boundaries, is the bright reward. After all, the process of writing is maddening and paradoxically isolating enough! Our minds do not live in geographical locations and specific cultures. Our dreams tell us so.
To see the world in a microcosm, a ‘drop of water’, one island, one character at a time, is writing. To share lived or imagined details of a place, time and culture with the world, is writing. I hope never to be limited in my writing by identity, geography, or nationalism. Human expression lives and evolves beyond the spoken, sung, or printed word. And that is only where I can begin.
–Oonya Kempadoo was born in Sussex, England of Guyanese parents and was raised in Guyana from the age of four. She studied art in Amsterdam and has lived in Trinidad, St. Lucia, Tobago, and now Grenada. She was named a Great Talent for the Twenty-First Century by the Orange Prize judges and is a winner of the Casa de las Americas Prize. She has written the novels Tide Running, Buxton Spice, and All Decent Animals: A Novel.
2paragraphs gives special thanks to Anderson Tepper for curating our International Writers Interviews. Mr. Tepper is on the staff of Vanity Fair and is a Contributing Editor at Words Without Borders.