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Knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns
Grenada Days (2) When people hear I’m the writer in residence at St George’s University, one of the first questions they inevitably ask me is, “What does that mean?” For me, as I wrote in my column last week, it means I have 15 weeks of relief from my daily grind as a mother, as a wife; 15 weeks in which I can write. And I have been writing. Some years ago I was honoured to be accepted by the late master of prose and poetry Wayne Brown into one of his distance writing workshops; although he was based in Jamaica and I in Trinidad, the idea was that I would e-mail him work and he would send me extensive criticism of it.
Wayne Brown’s workshops were legendary. Trinidadian and Jamaican writers alike, including Sharon Millar (last year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner) and Amanda Smyth (critically acclaimed author of Black Rock and A Kind of Eden), had benefited from his keen eye and guiding hand since I had been a teen. I’d long wanted to do one of his workshops. He had offered me a place in one when he was still in T&T, before he’d moved to Jamaica, when I was either 19 or 20 and had just self-published my book of poems Something to Say. At the time I couldn’t afford the price—I was, as ever, broke—so I declined the opportunity.