The Realpolitik of Yard Fiction: Trinidad’s Beacon Group

  • Leah Reade Rosenberg


In 1929, there were at least two significant developments in anglophone Caribbean literature. The first was Seepersad Naipaul’s appointment to the Trinidad Guardian as a columnist. His column addressed debates on social and religious reform that dominated Indo-Trinidadian communities. Issues and even sections from these columns would feature prominently in his fiction.1 In 1929, Naipaul was already established in Indo-Trinidadian literary institutions. He was a member of the Star of India Literary Club of Tunapuna and in 1929 published poetry in the East Indian Weekly.2 Naipaul’s move to the Trinidad Guardian from the Indo-Trinidadian press was a critical advance for him but also for his community, as Indo-Trinidadians would now have a significantly larger voice in the national press. It was also a significant event in the development of West Indian literature as his journalism provided material for his short story collection Gurudeva, and Other Indian Tales (1943), which was published in Trinidad and sold very well. In the early 1950s, before his death in 1953, Henry Swanzy featured his short stories on the BBC’s Caribbean Voices along with the writing of Lamming, Selvon, and other now-canonical writers.3 Furthermore, Seepersad Naipaul provided his son V. S. Naipaul, one of the region’s most influential artists, with a model, in fact an imperative, to succeed as a writer. The elder Naipaul has never been incorporated to any degree within the literary tradition; certainly his 1929 arrival at the Trinidad Guardian has escaped notice.


National Culture Short Story National Literature Black Middle Class Realpol Itik 
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© Leah Reade Rosenberg 2007

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  • Leah Reade Rosenberg

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