Bocas Book Bulletin

Written by NGC Bocas Lit Fest for Trinidad Express on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

The Stranger Who Was Myself (Peepal Tree Press), a frank, witty, questioning memoir by Trinidadian writer Barbara Jenkins, records her childhood and youth in pre-Independence Trinidad, her departure on 31 August, 1962, on a government scholarship, her experience of 1960s Britain as a university student and then young wife and mother — and culminates with her eventual return to Trinidad. This portrait of the young writer is also a portrait of her extended family, the colonial city she grew up in, and its class and ethnic hierarchies. Jenkins’s sense of being perpetually an outsider or “stranger,” even to herself, gives her recollections a unique psychological insight. Her patient, supple prose propels the reader through a narrative that is at once unique but also representative of a generation of Trinidadians negotiating big questions of identity and belonging in the Independence era.