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Walrond, Eric. In Search of Asylum: The Later Writings of Eric Walrond. Gainseville. 2011. University Press of Florida. 9780813035604. Edited by Louis J. Parascandola and Carl A. Wade. 6 x 9, illustrations. 224 pages. hardcover. Front cover: Eric Walrond, by Winold Reiss, pastel on board, ca, 1925. 

 

9780813035604FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

‘A substantial step forward for black diaspora and black transnational literary studies.’--Gary Edward Holcomb, author of Claude McKay, Code Name Sasha. ‘Fills a significant void in our understanding of the life and literary career of Eric Walrond. By collecting, for the first time, the writings Walrond produced following his departure from the U.S. in 1928, Parascandola and Wade have done scholars a rich service.’--Heather Hathaway, author of Caribbean Waves. Eric Walrond is one of the great underexamined figures of the Harlem Renaissance and the Caribbean diaspora. Very little of his later work has been subsequently published or made readily available to American scholars. His writings, set in the Caribbean, the United States, and Europe, discuss imperialism, racism, the role of the black writer, black identity, and immigration--all topics of vital concern today. Born in British Guiana (now Guyana), Walrond moved to New York City in 1918 where he worked briefly for Marcus Garvey and became a protégé of Charles S. Johnson. During that time, he wrote short fiction as well as nonfiction and gained a measure of fame for his 1926 collection, Tropic Death. In Search of Asylum compiles Walrond’s European journalism and later fiction, as well as the pieces he wrote during the 1950s at Roundway Hospital in Wiltshire, England, where he was a voluntary patient. Louis Parascandola and Carl Wade have assembled a collection that at last fills in the biographical gaps in Walrond’s life, providing insights into the contours of his later work and the cultural climates in which he functioned between 1928 and his death in 1966.

 

Walrond EricEric Walrond (December 18, 1898 - August 8, 1966) born in Georgetown, British Guiana, in 1898, was the son of a Barbadian mother and a Guyanese father. His first eight years were spent in Guiana. But his parents’ marital difficulties led Walrond into an almost wayfaring existence. In 1906, his father abandoned Walrond and his mother. His mother moved the two of them to a small village in Barbados to live with their relatives. Walrond began his education in Barbados at St. Stephen’s Boys’ School, located in Black Rock. Around 1910, Walrond and his mother traveled in search of his father to the Panama Canal Zone, where thousands of west Indians and Guyanese were employed to dig the canal. Walrond and his mother never found his father and they made a home in Colon. It is in Colon where Walrond completed his public and secondary school education between 1913 and 1916. During his education in Colon, Walrond was exposed to the Spanish culture and became bilingual. Around this time he was trained as a secretary and stenographer, and acquired a job as a clerk in the Health Department of the Canal commission at Cristobal. Through the years 1916 and 1918 he began a journalistic career which he pursued while in the United States. Walrond worked as a general reporter, court reporter, and sportswriter for the Panama Star-Herald, ‘the most important contemporaneous newspaper in the American tropics.’ Walrond was also associated with the Harlem Renaissance. In the early 1920s he published short stories in periodicals such as the Opportunity, Smart Set, and Vanity Fair. In 1923, he wrote ‘On Being a Domestic,’ ‘Miss Kenny’s Marriage,’ ‘The Stone Rebounds,’ and ‘The Stone Rebounds.’ Walrond’s stories focused on a realistic presentation of racial situations in New York City. In 1924 he focused on a more impressionistic presentation of life in the American tropics. He did not return to the realistic form of writing until 1927, when he wrote ‘City Love,’ which is the last story he published before he left the United States. His works include - ‘On Being Black’ (1922); ‘On being a Domestic,’ ‘Miss Kenny’s Marriage,’ ‘The Stone Rebounds,’ ‘Cynthia Goes to the Prom,’ ‘The New Negro Faces America,’ ‘The Negro Exodus from the South’ (1923); ‘Vignettes of the Dusk,’ ‘The Black City’ (1924); ‘A Cholo Romance,’ ‘Imperator Africanus, Marcus Garvey: Menace or Promise?’ (1925); Tropic Death (1926); ‘City Love’ (1927).

 

Louis J. Parascandola, professor of English at Long Island University, is author or editor of six books, including "Look for Me All Around You": Anglophone Caribbean Immigrants in the Harlem Renaissance.

 

Carl A. Wade, senior lecturer in English at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, has published extensively on Caribbean American writers and writing.

 


 

 

 


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