Concept

Jamaica Kincaid

Summary
Jamaica Kincaid (kɪnˈkeɪd; born May 25, 1949) is an Antiguan-American novelist, essayist, gardener, and gardening writer. She was born in St. John's, Antigua (part of the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda). She lives in North Bennington, Vermont and is Professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard University during the academic year. Jamaica Kincaid was born Elaine Potter Richardson in St John's, Antigua, on May 25, 1949. She grew up in relative poverty with her mother, a literate, cultured woman and homemaker, and her stepfather, a carpenter. She was very close to her mother until her three brothers were born in quick succession, starting when Kincaid was nine years old. After her brothers' births, she resented her mother, who thereafter focused primarily on the brothers' needs. Kincaid later recalled, Our family money remained the same, but there were more people to feed and to clothe, and so everything got sort of shortened, not only material things but emotional things. The good emotional things, I got a short end of that. But then I got more of things I didn't have, like a certain kind of cruelty and neglect. In a New York Times interview, Kincaid also said: "The way I became a writer was that my mother wrote my life for me and told it to me." Kincaid received (and frequently excelled in) a British education growing up, as Antigua did not gain independence from the United Kingdom until 1981. Although she was intelligent and frequently tested at the top of her class, Kincaid's mother removed her from school at 16 to help support the family when her third and last brother was born, because her stepfather was ill and could no longer provide for the family. In 1966, when Kincaid was 17, her mother sent her to Scarsdale, a wealthy suburb of New York City, to work as an au pair. After this move, Kincaid refused to send money home; "she left no forwarding address and was cut off from her family until her return to Antigua 20 years later".
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