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So Many Islands: Stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans

Posted on 05/04/2017
By Commonwealth Foundation
With introduction by Marlon James and afterword by Sia Figiel.
Telegram Books

About the Editors

Nicholas Laughlin is the editor of the Caribbean Review of Books and Caribbean Beat and programme director of the Bocas Lit Fest, an annual literary festival held in Trinidad. He is also co-director of the contemporary art space Alice Yard. His poetry, essays and reviews have been widely published. His debut collection of poems, The Strange Years of My Life was published in 2015 by Peepal Tree Press. He lives and works in Trinidad & Tobago.

Nailah Folami Imoja is a Barbadian/British writer, performer and educator. As a poet, novelist and journalist, she has contributed significantly to the Barbadian litscape. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies and one of her YA novellas, Pick of the Crop, was published by Heinemann (Oxford) in 2004. She has performed her work in England, Canada, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad. Many of her novellas are available via


Angela Barry (Bermuda); Cecil Browne (St. Vincent & the Grenadines); Damon Chua (Singapore); Delma Vanido (Papua New Guinea); Emma Lewis (Malta); Erato Ioannou (Cyprus); Fetuolemoana Elisara (Samoa); Heather Barker (Barbados); Jacob Ross (Grenada); Karlo Mila (Tonga); Kendel Hippolyte (St. Lucia); Marita Davies (Kiribati); Melanie Schwapp (Jamaica); Mere Taito (Rotuma Island, Fiji); Mikoyan Vekula (Niue); Sabah Carrim (Mauritius); Tammi Browne-Bannister (Antigua & Barbuda); Tracy Assing (Trinidad)

‘Here is one more thing about island people: we have a way of taking influences, even powerful ones, and assimilating them even as they try to assimilate us. We remix them, recontextualise them, push them to the background or layer them on top of a verse…. This is the real globalism, a glorious cacophony that seeks no common ground other than attitude.’ Marlon James

So Many Islands collects compelling new fiction, essays and poems from seventeen small island countries in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Indian and Pacific Oceans. These island communities may seem remote on the map, but there is nothing isolated about the fresh, unexpected voices of their writers.

The anthology brings together love poems and protest poems, tales of childhood innocence and innocence lost, stories about leaving home and trying to go home again. Here are pieces that tackle traumatic histories – from the aftermaths of transatlantic slavery to nuclear testing in the Pacific – alongside a delicate exploration of budding sexuality in Singapore, a comic account of a cricket match that becomes a drama of personality, and a lyrical return to a Pacific island guarded by four female deities.

Perhaps what these writers have most deeply in common is an urge to contend with the limits and the possibilities of a small place – whether that means cherishing the intimate territory of a familiar community, or escaping into a more expansive realm of the imagination.

Follow this link to read Tracy Assing’s blog on reading her story at International Civil Society Week 2017.



Peekash Press
Little Island Press

So Many Islands is available to purchase now from Little Island Press (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands), Peekash Press (Caribbean, US and Canada), and Telegram Books (UK and Europe).