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Sugar, sport and storytelling

Published: 
Monday, September 2, 2013

My name is Ian McDonald and I wrote the novel The Hummingbird Tree. It amazes me that, 40 years after publication and basically 50 years after it was written, people still know about The Hummingbird Tree. I am Trinidadian by birth, Antiguan by ancestry, Guyanese by adoption and West Indian by conviction. I’ve seen comments that Naipaul was rather an anonymous figure at Queen’s Royal College but he was very well known! He would hold forth from a narrow balustrade upstairs—the fall would have killed him—and he would get very worked up. I’ve often thought, if he had fallen, the great Naipaul would have disappeared in the sixth form. When I went to Cambridge, this great university, 800 years of education, I thought I would be overawed. I found I was better-educated than 80 per cent of the people. That came from Queen’s Royal College.