Balancing Acts: Wrighting, Writing, Righting Trauma in Caribbean Fiction

How to Cite

Balancing Acts: Wrighting, Writing, Righting Trauma in Caribbean Fiction. (2023). Tout Moun Caribbean Journal of Cultural Studies, 8(1).


The major imperative is to recover and clothe with flesh, blood and narrative
the submerged histories of
the slaughtered, the disembodied and the voiceless.
(Paula Morgan, The Terror and the Time,
The University of the West Indies Press. 2014, 20.)

There are so many dimensions of recovering – re-covering that which has been stripped and left bare to the elements, recovering the dead after disaster, recovering from past wounds, recovering what has been lost. In crafting Caribbean fiction, authors may seek to balance disparate challenges of recovery. One challenge is the need to reconstruct, through writing, past events so damaging as to have left wounds whose pain lingers on through traumatic recall. In these circumstances the author writes the trauma as well. Such acts of creativity comprise wrightings of atrocity and persistent woundedness. In evoking the unthinkable, Caribbean word-wrights render up through discourse the submerging and shattering of our selves. But another, complementary, focus may be on healing. Literary critics such as Paula Morgan have pointed out the need for restorative operations through which the self may be made right - although recovery, crucial as it is, less frequently attracts critical notice. Morgan’s interest in such discourse chimes with my own priorities as a creative writer and impels academic inquiry into strategies and choices for achieving palliative narrative.