Conceived by Jamaica’s first Poet Laureate, Thomas MacDermot, The All Jamaican Library is where literary publishing in Jamaica found its footing. This indigenous imprint was designed to put forth work written by Jamaicans about Jamaica while being reasonably priced in order to remain accessible to the locals. Though it only ran for six years, MacDermot published two of his own novels, Becka’s Buckra Baby (1904) and One Brown Girl and ¼ (1909) comprising “The Story of Noel,” as well as E.A. Dodds’ Maroon Medicine (1905)—the first collection of stories by a Caribbean writer—and W.A. Campbell’s short story, Marguarite: A Story of the Earthquake (1907).
The first work from the series, Becka’s Buckra Baby, is a tragic story of race and class following the life of Noel Maud Bronvola. Wanting to honor her father after his death, Noel dedicates herself to helping others, eventually bringing a gift to a young child that has unexpected consequences. The second work, Maroon Medicine, is a collection of short stories that focus on the lighter sides of daily Jamaican life. Inspired by the spider-trickster spirit Anasi, these stories are a celebration of West African folklore. The third work, Marguerite: A Story of the Earthquake, is a short story following the tragic romance between George Hodlin and Marguerite. Nurturing Marguerite back to health and attempting to win her affections, the young lover’s lives and plans for the future are upended once an earthquake strikes Kingston. George now away at school and Marguerite the apple of Herr Otto Tiez’s eye, the pair try to decipher how love can last when held against the temptation of comfort and lasting security. The fourth and final work, One Brown Girl and ¼ is a spiritual successor to Becka’s Buckra Baby that focuses on Liberta Passley. Despite her beauty, wealth, education, and social standing, Liberta Passley is unable to feel satisfied. Feeling as though she must reject her African heritage, she makes a decision that unwittingly welcomes disaster into her life.
Professionally typeset with a beautifully designed cover, this exclusive edition of The All Jamaican Library is the foundation of Caribbean writing, reimagined for modern readers.