As part of the ongoing CARIBLit series about everything books, we are sharing the shortlisted short story winners from last September’s Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival. Catch the interview below with writer, Deborah Buchanan who hails from Jamaica. Read her BCLF short story entry, “ Cashew Heist.” 1. Share with us a little bit of your background.
I am a Freelance Fashion & Lifestyle Writer and Personal Stylist in NYC. People call me the Trinidadian Carrie Bradshaw. Curly-haired and wide-eyed, I moved to New York in 2018 for fashion and writing (and love?). As a fashion writer, I’ve been published in the Caribbean, New York, UK, and Canada, in various blogs, magazines, and newspapers.
2. When did you start writing, and how did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I was writing way before I knew I wanted to be a writer. My first non-academic writings were young adult erotic-ish novels my friend and I would take turns putting together during high school! They were so fun to write. We would alternate with each chapter during free periods or after school. Our classmates used to schedule time slots to read them. We should have charged!
Only after a successful blog, a popular magazine weekly column, published articles and being short-listed for the BCLF emergent writers prize, have I decided that I really do want to be a writer.
3. Do you prefer the novel or the short story, and why?
Short Stories are new to me. My entry for this competition was my first short story ever. I always felt I would write a non-fiction novel at some point. Now, my perspective has totally changed, and I appreciate the overripe heaviness that a short story carries; with so much richness and suspense in a concise package. I like the quickness of it. And the playfulness of using fictional characters to disguise truths and imagination all in one plot.
4. What is your connection to the Caribbean? Do you have a favorite saying from Caribbean culture?
I’m such a Trini; born and raised. I’ve only been in New York for a couple of years. There are so many sayings from our culture that make me giddy with their creativity and nuance! The context has always a special part to play in the meanings of these words and phrases. I could never pick just one. Recently I was talking about how many ways we use the word “skin”; skin up, skin out, big skin, red skin, skin teeth- I love our language!
5. Do you have a favorite Caribbean/Caribbean-descended writer? We would love to learn about a storyteller from your island whose writing has left an impact/impression on you (poet/oral storyteller/griot included)
Shivanee Ramlochan actually went to University with me at UWI and we had Spanish classes together. I was in awe of her ever since. Her first book of poetry “Everyone knows I’m a haunting” has moved me more than any other work of its kind. It’s impossible to […]