Olive Senior

www.olivesenior.com

Olive Senior is a poet, fiction writer, journalist, editor and one of Canada’s most internationally recognized and acclaimed authors. Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1987 for her fiction collection Summer Lightning and a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for her poetry collection Over the Roofs of the World, her body of work includes four books of poetry, three collections of short stories, and several award-winning non-fiction works on Caribbean culture. Her poetry collection Shell was short-listed for the Canadian League of Poets’ Pat Lowther Award in 2009. Olive Senior is regarded as a distinctive voice in West Indian literature. Critics have praised her reproduction of authentic Jamaican Creole in her written work, as well as her insightful exploration of such issues as identity, cultural nationalism, class stratification, and the oppressive impact of religion on women and the poor.

Birthday Suit
x Birthday Suit

Birthday Suit

This picture book lovingly follows the story of Johnny, who loves nothing better than splashing in the ocean waves – naked. His Mom says that now he’s four he’s too old to run around without clothes on. She even buys him a pair of overalls with child-proof snap fasteners! But they’re no match for Johnny. Johnny’s father explains that big boys wear clothes. Doesn’t he want to be like Dad? As Johnny gazes up, he decides that wearing clothes may be a small price to pay to reach such heights. Imbued with the lilt of the Caribbean and featuring illustrations by Eugenia Fernandez that capture the warmth and humour of the text, this charming picture book is sure to amuse young children – naked or not!

 

Rights sold:
Annick Press - World

Anna Carries Water
x Anna Carries Water

Anna Carries Water

Anna fetches water from the spring every day, but she can’t carry it on her head like her older brothers and sisters. In this charming and poetic family story set in Jamaica, Commonwealth Prize-winning author Olive Senior shows young readers the power of determination, as Anna achieves her goal and overcomes her fear.

Rights sold:
World - Tradewind Books

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The Pain Tree

This new collection of stories is wide-ranging in scope, time period, theme, locale and voice. Senior’s characteristic ‘gossipy voice’ is present in many of the stories, but there is reverence as well as wit and wisdom, along with satire, humour and even farce. The stories range in time from around the time of the World War II to the present. Like her earlier stories, Jamaica is the setting but the characters presented are universally recognizable as people in crisis or on the cusp of transformation

Rights sold:
Canada English - Cormorant Books

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Dying to Better Themselves, West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal

The epic story of the involvement of the tiny islands of the West Indies in providing the work force for the construction of the Panama Canal (1904-1914) and before that, the Panama Railroad (1850-1855), and the French attempt under de Lesseps to build the Panama Canal (1881-1889). This is the first comprehensive account to look at the story from the West Indian perspective. Written by a West Indian, the book allows the voices of the participants to tell their stories alongside the official accounts.

Rights sold:
World - University of the West Indies Press

Dancing Lessons
x Dancing Lessons

Dancing Lessons

When her house in the Jamaican countryside is damaged by a hurricane, Gertrude Samphire is sent by her estranged daughter Celia to Ellesmere Lodge, an assisted living centre. Gertrude is unimpressed with her new wealthy fellow residents, and spends most of her time alone. It is only through writing that she finds her voice, and begins to record her life in a notebook: memories of her gothic childhood, impetuous marriage, and struggles with raising a family. Gertrude slowly comes out of her shell, establishing and mending the relationships she has been missing for so long—and comes to realize she may not be as alone as she once felt.

Rights sold:
Canada - Cormorant Books

Arrival of the Snake-Woman
x Arrival of the Snake-Woman

Arrival of the Snake-Woman and Other Stories

Olive Senior’s Jamaican birthplace provides the setting for these powerfully engaging stories that span a period of roughly 150 years, from the closing days of slavery in 1838 to the 1980s. The tensions wrought by rapid change and conflicting loyalties are at the heart of these stories, most beautifully evoked in the novella Arrival of the Snake-Woman. Here a young boy narrates the seminal event of his childhood in the late nineteenth century: the coming of a lonely Indian indentured woman into a mountain village. Senior’s stories are leavened with wit and humour and intricate play with language; her characters emerge as triumphant examples of the human spirit unravelling the complex weave of race, class, and cultural and ethnic identity.

Rights sold:
TSAR Publications

Summer Lightning and Other Stories
x Summer Lightning and Other Stories

Summer Lightning and Other Stories

This exciting collection of short stories set in the Caribbean, places Olive Senior in the front rank of short-fiction writers. Senior’s achievement is to address ominous issues uniquely, by cataloguing, with wit and affection, the lilting speech and loping gait of the local population. Summer Lightning won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1987.

Rights sold:
Longman

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Zigzag et Autres Nouvelles de la Jamaique

This is a French language edition of Discerner of Hearts.

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Editions Zoe

Discerner of Hearts
x Discerner of Hearts

Discerner of Hearts

The nine vividly rendered stories of place and character in Discerner of Hearts are set in Jamaica, both rural and urban, some present-day, others looking back several decades. Senior’s gift for fine characterization, for recreating the music of everyday speech, pervades these tales, which explore notions of home and exile as well as the intricate realm of the human spirit – its fallible nature, its indomitable strength against the sometimes downward pull of fate.

Rights sold:
McClelland & Stewart

Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage
x Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage

Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage

This unique sourcebook runs the gamut from Abeng to Zombi with nearly 1000 entries and more than 700 illustrations which cover the various strands of Jamaican Heritage.

Rights sold:
Twin Guinep Publishers

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