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In Praise of Island Women & Other Crimes

In this collection of short stories, meditations and prose poems, Brenda Flanagan celebrates the capacity of women to endure with resilience, stoicism and, frequently, humour. The stories give a vivid picture of an island very like Trinidad, across the past fifty years, touching on women of many ages and ethnicities, of women in town or country, or in flight from the hard circumstances of island life and in search of material security in the USA.


Brenda Flanagan
Essays, Fiction, Short Stories
Trinidad and Tobago, Imaginary Caribbean
Date published
30 Sep 2010

Above all, Brenda Flanagan penetrates to the heart of Trinidad’s picong (satirical) culture, and the way that playing with the word sustains a sense of self and community relationship.

Janet Kauffman writes: ‘What the best musicians do with wood and brass and air, Brenda Flanagan does with words – she gives them voice and life... And there you are, on the island, in the midst of it all.’

Ishmael Reed writes: ‘Brenda Flanagan joins Marshall, Danticat ... Caribbean American women who’ve done so much to add new colors and rhythms to an American prose that can often be dull and gray...’

Trinidad born Brenda Flanagan teaches creative writing, Caribbean and African American Literatures at Davidson College, North Carolina. She is also a United States cultural ambassador, and has served in Kazakstan, Chad and Panama.

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Brenda Flanagan

Brenda Flanagan was born in Trinidad in 1949, the twelfth of fourteen children in an impoverished family. Her father was a barman, her mother a laundress. Brenda Flanagan recalls having a hunger for involvement with the wider world and dreamt of being a writer. She started writing poetry at the age of ten and by thirteen she was singing calypsos and earning money for it. However, at the age of fourteen she had to leave school to help support her family, by then only parented by her mother. She worked for a time in a factory, then was taken on as a trainee reporter of The Nation, the newspaper of the then ruling People's National Movement led by Dr. Eric Williams.

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