The diversity and cultural mix of the 700 islands of the Caribbean is mirrored in the books and writing from the region. Our reading lists cover the best literature, history and culture of many of the Caribbean islands. Among the region's most famous writers is V.S. Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2001 and whose books have been recommended a number of times on Five Books.
In terms of Caribbean history books, the Haitian Revolution looms large, as the first and only successful slave revolt. It led to independence for Haiti in 1803 and became a beacon around the world for others seeking liberty, inspiring Frederick Douglass and others opposing slavery in the United States and Irish republicans seeking independence from Britain. A biography of the leader of the slave revolt, Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture, won the world's most prestigious history prize in 2021.
From the humorous and dark stories of a young V. S. Naipaul to recent coming-of-age novels, set in a cut-throat Jamaican holiday resort or American’s urban battlefields, Alexia Arthurs explores the myriad expressions of Caribbean identity in fiction
From two 19th century journals, to historical fiction, to reportage on Jamaicans living in London in the 1950s to the island’s music, British travel writer Ian Thomson, author of The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica, recommends a broad range of books that shed light on Jamaica.
As a country that was created after the first and only successful slave revolt in history, Haiti looms large in the popular imagination. Here, Christian Wisskirchen, founding member and former chair of The Haiti Support Group, recommends five books that reveal much about Haiti and what makes it special, and its fascinating and often traumatic history since independence in 1804.