ST. MARTIN (September, 2000)–George Lamming’s Regreso, regreso al hogar: Conversaciones II, the first Spanish edition of his critically acclaimed book Coming, Coming Home — Conversations II (1995) was just published here in August by House of Nehesi Publishers.
The book of essays received a high profile launch at CARIFESTA VII in St. Kitts-Nevis on August 23, 2000, as part of the regional festival’s Literary Arts and Book Fair opening day ceremonies. The re-print of the book’s English edition, which includes a French translation, was issued simultaneously.
Conversaciones II includes the monograph “La educación occidental y intelectual Caribeño” (“Western Education and the Caribbean Intellectual”), and as Rex Nettleford writes in the introduction, the book is proving to be “part of the current discourse which targets the historical, cultural and scientific implications of the pan-hemispheric encounters that will continue to be of global importance well into the twenty-first century.”
Lamming will be on hand for the book reception, expected to be a virtual multilingual pan-Caribbean affair that could gather Spanish- and French-speaking scholars, authors, artists, and delegates from Cuba, Guadelopue and other Spanish- and French-speaking countries and territories along with their English-speaking kindred attending CARIFESTA VII. The noted scholar Roberto Márquez, whose fine translation credits include Man-making Words by Cuba’s poet grandee Nicolas Guillen, translated Conversaciones II from the English original.
“With Conversaciones II we are looking to explore the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Curacao and some of the South American countries with links to the Caribbean, as well as the Hispanic community in North America,” says Lasana M. Sekou of House of Nehesi Publishers. Lamming, who in May received an honorary doctorate from the City University of New York, is considered to be the Caribbean’s most important political novelist. Interestingly, the English edition of Conversaciones II was launched at CARIFESTA VI in Trinidad in 1995, and lived up to the accompanying fanfare. According to the author, Conversations II was his first book to receive such critical acclaim and public attention within the Caribbean.
Most of Lamming’s books, such as the landmark childhood novel In The Castle of My Skin (1953), The Pleasures of Exile (1960), a highly influential collection of essays, and the novel Natives of My Person (1971) were published in London or New York. The Spanish edition of In the Castle of My Skin (En el Castillo de mi piel) was published in 1979 in Havana. Currently the University of Michigan appears to have issued in a virtual Lamming renaissance in the USA with its re-prints and reported plans to re-print a number of his titles starting in 1991 with In the Castle of My Skin.
Lamming lives in his native Barbados and travels and lectures regularly at universities, conferences, and literary events in the Caribbean and the USA. Conversaciones II is available from House of Nehesi Publishers, P.O. Box 460, Philipsburg, St. Martin, Caribbean or www.houseofnehesipublish.com