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Caribbean and Scottish Writers Trade Places

Diana McCaulay, Jane Harris and Lisa Allen Agostini

Trinidadian Lisa Allen Agostini and Jamaican Diana McCaulay will be trading places with Scotland’s Jane Harris as a part of the Trading Tales project from the British Council. One of four literary projects by the British Council for the Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, July 23 - August 3) Trading Tales will see the two Caribbean writers travelling to Scotland for a residency at the Mitchell Library and later Harris will spend three weeks in the Caribbean, starting in Trinidad and Tobago.

Trading Tales is a project for writers of historic fiction. During the residency, Agostini will be researching Scottish architect George Brown who created some of Port of Spain’s iconic buildings as well as William Gordon Gordon, once one of Trinidad’s richest men having made his fortunes from loan foreclosures against the country’s cocoa barons.

McCaulay will be extending research that brushes a little closer to home as she conducts research that will fuel short stories about her family connections in Jamaica and Scotland. McCaulay’s second novel, Huracan had previously began this exploration. 

Harris will be using her sojourn to the Caribbean to do further research for an upcoming novel based largely in Grenada.  The narrative was fueled by research into ‘the Redlegs’ indentured labourers from Scotland and is based on a true story. 

All three writers have accumulated various accolades over their careers. McCaulay a journalist and novelist with two books under her belt (Huracan and Dog Heart) recently won the Hollick-Arvon Prize for Caribbean Writing and is also a winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the Caribbean ('The Dolphin Catcher', 2012). 

Agostini is the author of The Chalice Project and co-edited the anthology Trinidad Noir and was awarded the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship in 2001. Her upcoming collection of poems Swallowing the Sky will be published by Cane Arrow Press. Her work has appeared in sx salon,Susumba's Book Bag, Tongues of the Ocean, She Sex, and Wasafiri.

Harris is a best-selling author whose work has been translated into 18 languages and published in over 20 territories. Her debut novel The Observations was shortlisted for the National Book Awards (UK), The Orange Prize for Fiction and earned the First Fiction Prize for the Book of the Month Club. Her sophomore novel is Gillespie and I and both books have been serialized on BBC Radio 4.

Agositini and McCaulay will travel to Scotland in August while Harris will travel to the Caribbean in September.