Two Barbadian writers whose work has had great influence throughout the Caribbean are the novelist George Lamming and the poet Edward Kamau Brathwaite.
Lamming’s first novel, In The Castle Of My Skin (1953), a part-autobiographical story of growing up in colonial Barbados, deals with one of the major concerns of anglophone writers: how to define one’s values within a system and ideology imposed by someone else. Lamming’s treatment of the boy’s changing awareness in a time of change in the West Indies is both poetic and highly imaginative. His other books include Natives Of My Person, Season Of Adventure and The Pleasures Of Exile.
Brathwaite is also sensitive to the colonial influence on black West Indian culture. Like Derek Walcott (see under St Lucia) and others he is also keenly aware of the African traditions at the heart of that culture. The questions addressed by all these writers are: who is Caribbean man, and what are his faiths, his language, his ancestors? The experience of teaching in Ghana for some time helped to clarify Brathwaite’s response. African religions, motifs and songs mix with West Indian speech rhythms in a style which is often strident, frequently using very short verses. His collections include Islands, Masks and Rights Of Passage.
Heinemann Caribbean publish the A to Z of Barbadian Heritage which is worth reading. Macmillan publish Treasures of Barbados, an attractive guide to Barbadian architecture.