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English Department Chair Lectures in Jamaica on BBC Radio's Influence on West Indian Literature

Department of English Chair Glyne Griffith.  

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 25, 2015) -- Glyne Griffith, a well-respected scholar in the field of Caribbean literary and cultural studies, and chair of the Department of English, spoke at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, recently on how the BBC Radio served West Indian literature from 1943 to 1958.

He gave the 9th Annual Edward Baugh Distinguished Lecture, hosted by UWI’s Department of Literatures in English. Griffith earned his Ph.D. at UWI’s Mona campus.

Griffith, an associate professor of English, is also affiliated with the Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies at UAlbany. His most recent research examines the history of the BBC in relation to its impact on the development of West Indian literature, and is the subject of his forthcoming book. Griffith has conducted extensive research on West Indian literary icons such as Edward Baugh, George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite and V.S. Naipaul.

He serves as co-editor of the Journal of West Indian Literature. He is the author of Deconstruction, Imperialism, and the West Indian Novel (1996), editor of Caribbean Cultural Identities (2001) and co-editor of Color, Hair, and Bone: Race in the 21st Century (2008).

Griffith’s lecture examined the influence of the BBC literary radio program on the development of West Indian literature during the 15 years that the show was broadcast from London to the English-speaking Caribbean. The half-hour program solicited poetry and prose from aspiring writers in the Caribbean and selected the best examples for broadcast back to the region each Sunday afternoon at 6:30 p.m. Aspiring writers were paid if their efforts were broadcast and then their work was introduced to publishers in Britain for consideration. In this way, the BBC radio program helped launch the literary careers of many West Indian writers during the 1940s and 1950s.

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