General Presentation:

Sociologist Erna Border was born in Woodside, Saint Mary, on 20 April 1940, and has always been a committed activist. She grew up in a family very much involved in community life, and her own commitments began in earnest in the US in the 1960s during her studies, when she discovered the Black Power and Women's Liberation Movements. The influence of the themes and claims expressed by these organisations can be felt from Erna's very first publications. She is an ardent defender of oral memory and pioneer of Caribbean oral literature, and spent time collecting the oral narratives of the elders of rural Jamaica – a project that inspired her novel Louisiana (1994). Her most recent publication, The Rainmaker's Mistake (2007), focuses on the situation of former slaves trying to integrate their newfound status as free people and the conditions required for building a new nation while keeping their age-old customs and beliefs to the fore. As a sociologist, she has also published a number of articles for the University of the West Indies’ Institute of Social and Economic Research, and has written a great deal on Jamaican society, for such specialist journals as Social and Economic Studies, Caribbean Quarterly and the Jamaican Journal.

Main works

  • The Rainmaker's Mistake. New Beacon Books, 2007
  • Louisiana. New Beacon Books, 1994
  • Myal. New Beacon Books, 1988
  • Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home. New Beacon Books, 1980

Prizes and distinctions :

1989: Caribbean and Canadian Regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize for her novel Myal

1999: Jamaican Musgrave Gold Award for Literature and Orature.

2006: Prince Claus Award on the theme Culture and Conflict

@La Médiathèque Caraïbe

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