The Death of Kamau Brathwaite

It was with sadness that we received news of the death of the academic and poet Kamau Brathwaite in his home island of Barbados yesterday.

Kamau was a longstanding friend of both New Beacon Books (NBB) and the GPI and also one third of the pan-Caribbean trio of founders of the seminal Caribbean Artists Movement (1966), John La Rose (Trinidad) and Andrew Salkey (Jamaica) being the other two. He penetrated the literary world with his groundbreaking trilogy Rights of Passage, Islands and Masks published between 1967 and 1969 (later collectively known as The Arrivants).  Kamau went on to edit Savacou the magazine which emanated from CAM and which was published for a decade starting in 1970. NBB published two of Kamau’s completed works: Folk Culture of the Slaves in Jamaica (1970) and History of the Voice (1984). Anne Walmsley’s The Caribbean Artists Movement 1966-1972: A Literary and Cultural History was also published by NBB in 1992. The GPI’s extensive CAM collection remains one of our most popular and continues to be widely used in educational outreach events.

Kamau’s creativity was prolific; there was always something he was working on, something for readers to look forward to. His most recent publications were Liviticus and The Lazarus Poems both in 2017 and over the years he received numerous awards including the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry in 2018.

He inspired, encouraged and supported other writers, especially new writers and this literary giant shall be missed.

A more detailed appreciation of Kamau Brathwaite will be forthcoming.

Please see the relevant article in Barbados Today News:


Kamau's critically acclaimed trilogy