Anthony Joseph launched his biographical novel “Kitch” with a stellar performance at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest. This August, the UK-based, TT writer and performance poet returns to deliver the literary headliner for CARIFESTA XIV.
In an expanded presentation of that memorable production, Joseph will read from his critically acclaimed fictionalised biography on Sunday 18 August at the Big Black Box, accompanied by Modupe Onilu on percussion and steelpan, Krisson Joseph on vocals and guitar, and Douglas Redon on bass, interpreting Kitchener’s songs and specially composed music which reflects his time. The free show starts 7pm sharp.
According to Joseph, “When Kitchener sang ‘London is the Place for Me’ on board the Empire Windrush on June 22 1948 at Tilbury, Kitchener become a representative of the Caribbean diaspora. His performance epitomises the historical role of the calypso, as people’s newspaper, and the role of the calypsonian as messenger, troubadour and griot. In his words and music – beginning with his recordings in London and later, in Trinidad, Kitchener articulated the struggles and joys of Caribbean people in post-war Britain, at a time when battles for Caribbean identity and nationhood raged at home and abroad. Kitchener’s life and music represents that movement away from, and, returning to the Caribbean. When we listen to his music, we can begin to understand what it means to be a Caribbean person.”
The hybrid novel is the first biography of calypso icon Lord Kitchener. It was published by Peepal Tree Press to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush in Britain and was shortlisted for The 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (Fiction), and the Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award.
In his review of Joseph’s 2018 performance UWI St Augustine blogger Jarrel De Matas declared, “Joseph’s novel did more than focus the spotlight on his unique artistic voice, it also re-directed attention to the larger-than-life figure who embodied the lived experience of an entire generation, and whose personality invigorated a nation.” He continued, “Never before has a Trinidadian novel made a single artist the sole focus of its literary illustration. So how appropriate is it that Lord Kitchener is the first to have such an honour.”
They Called Him Kitch is just one of many evening events taking centre stage during August 16 – 24 in Port of Spain, Trinidad at CARIFESTA XIV, the Caribbean’s biggest celebration of art and culture. www.carifesta.net/events-2019
The packed programme showcasing the region’s diverse cultural offerings includes a free literary programme, curated and executed by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, the Caribbean’s premiere annual literary festival. For a complete schedule of daily literary events at the Carifesta XIV Grand Market and to register for workshops, including one led by the author of “Kitch” visit: www.bocaslitfest.com/carifesta