Lisa Allen-Agostini on Tracy Assing’s “Unaccounted For”

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In “Telling the story, again,” Lisa Allen-Agostini reviews Trinidadian Tracy Assing’s essay, “Unaccounted For,” from So Many Islands—a collection of essays edited by Nicholas Laughlin with Nailah Folami Imoja. Here are excerpts (for full review, see the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday:

[. . .] Naming things, naming people, naming places, shapes history. How does Kairi become Trinidad? How do the descendants of the First Peoples of this space come to be categorised as Carib, bear Spanish-sounding names like Amoroso and Medina and Lopez, and belong to the Santa Rosa community? Writer and indigenous Trinidadian Tracy Assing draws on these issues in her essay “Unaccounted For,” which is the only piece of writing from TT to be included in the new international anthology So Many Islands.

Published in TT by Peekash Press and edited by Nicholas Laughlin with Nailah Folami Imoja, the anthology collects writing about islands in the Commonwealth. Assing’s essay sits alongside poems and stories from Fiji, Samoa, Malta, Kiribati, Singapore, Antigua, Jamaica and Barbados.

Assing, 42, travelled to the South Pacific last year for the launch of the Pacific edition of the book. (There are two other editions, simultaneously published in the Pacific by Little Island Press and the UK by Telegram Books).

Assing said in a Newsday interview late in January, “The similarities (between South Pacific islands and Trinidad) are immediate. The landscape, the vegetation is the same. All the crotons, all the hibiscus, all the breadfruit, all the dasheen, those things are all there. Even with me, because in terms of bone structure or skin tone, even some mannerisms, there are lots of similarities.” [. . .]

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

For full review, see http://newsday.co.tt/2018/02/12/telling-the-story-again/

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