Author, journalist and sociology Professor Cecil Foster will discuss his novel Independence, a rich, deeply moving story of the coming of age of a country and a boy at the time of Barbados’ independence from Britain in 1966, Wednesday.
“Thinking About Independence. A Conversation with Author Cecil Foster” will take place March 4, from 2:30 to 4:30pm, at 135 Vanier College, Keele campus. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Foster is the author of a dozen fiction and non-fiction books, including: Independence (HarperCollins Canada, 2014); Blackness and Modernity: The Colour of Humanity and the Quest for Freedom (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007), which won the 2008 John Porter Tradition of Excellence Book Award; A Place Called Heaven: The Meaning of Being Black in Canada (HarperCollins Canada, 1996), which won the 1996 Gordon Montador Award for the Best Canadian Book on Contemporary Social Issues; and Genuine Multiculturalism: Tragedy and Comedy of Diversity (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014). His 1995 novel Sleep On, Beloved (One World/Ballantine, 1995) was shortlisted for the Ontario Trillium Book Prize.
He was recently chosen as one of five judges for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Currently, Foster is the interim chair of the Department of Transnational Studies at the State University of New York, Buffalo.
In Independence, 14-year-olds Christopher Lucas and Stephanie King have been neighbours and best friends since they were born, just a few months apart. Both have been raised by their impoverished grandmothers since their mothers went “over ‘n’ away” to the United States and Canada to find work when the children were toddlers. No one has heard from the mothers since.
The grandmothers are growing more and more desperate about their ability to support their charges. When the novel opens, there is a sudden and unexplained rift between Christopher and Stephanie following the return from Canada of a benefactor named Mr. Lashley, who lavishes gifts on Stephanie. Through a series of triumphs and catastrophes, Christopher and Stephanie determine their places in the world and take control of their lives.
Rich with the details of Bajan culture, from food preparation to political and financial affairs, from sexuality to spirituality, Independence is a window onto a little-known world, and a touching portrait of a journey to adulthood and the women who guide it.
For more information, visit the Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean website.