The month of June is “Read Caribbean Month” which is dedicated to reading books written by Caribbean writers.
The Caribbean, which hosts many people of African descent, has produced some of the most important writing in world literature for decades. It has produced winners of major international prizes like the Nobel Prize in Literature (V.S. Naipaul and Derek Walcott), Booker Prize (Marlon James), and many others.
There has been an explosion of writing from that part of the world in the last decade or so. Sadly, there hadn’t been a huge drive to get the knowledge of this work out to readers. Enter Bookstagrammer Cindy Allman, a Jamaican living in Trinidad & Tobago who set up the Book of Cinz platform to encourage people to read, read more, read widely, and Read Caribbean in 2018. Her Instagram account currently has over 28,000 followers and her Tik Tok has over 10,000. She also runs a popular book club.
In 2019, Allman announced June as “Read Caribbean Month” to encourage people to read books by Caribbean nationals/ persons of Caribbean heritage, books about the Caribbean, and books set in the Caribbean. It was selected as it is the official Caribbean-American Heritage Month in the USA. Those reading these books were encouraged to share their experiences with the #ReadCaribbean hashtag.
The 2022 edition of #ReadCaribbean was announced by Allman in her popular BookofCinz newsletter on June 1. She said; “The aim of Read Caribbean is to create awareness for Caribbean Authors and their work. For 2022 we will be showcasing all the best that the Caribbean Literary scene has to offer. June 2022 promises to be an amazing month for Caribbean Literature and I really hope you can join in!”
She added, “With 2022 being our fourth year, we want to make a bigger impact. Currently, we have Caribbean Bookstagrammers who will be advocating for reading Caribbean all of June. 2022 promises to be an amazing year for #ReadCaribbean. Be sure to follow the hashtag #ReadCaribbean on Instagram to see all that we get up to!”
In the same newsletter, she shared some of the picks for the month which include Ayanna Lloyd-Banwo’s When We Were Birds, Jasmine Sealy’s The Island of Forgetting, Francesca Momplasir’s The Garden of Broken Things, Sharma Taylor’s What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You, Alake Pilgrim’s Zo and the Forest of Secrets, among others.