Literary Birthday – 25 May – Jamaica Kincaid

Happy Birthday, Jamaica Kincaid, born 25 May 1949.


  1. I was given a dictionary when I was seven, and I read it because I had nothing else to read. I read it the way you read a book.
  2. Who you are is a mystery no one can answer, not even you.
  3. I write a lot in my head. The revision goes on internally. It’s not spontaneous and it doesn’t have a schedule.
  4. One of the things reading does, it makes your loneliness manageable if you are an essentially lonely person.
  5. When I’m writing, I think about the garden, and when I’m in the garden I think about writing. I do a lot of writing by putting something in the ground.
  6. I loved Charlotte Bronte when I was little, and I wanted to be Charlotte Bronte the way people want to be a princess.
  7. Friendship is a simple thing, and yet complicated; friendship is on the surface, something natural, something taken for granted, and yet underneath one could find worlds.
  8. I think life is difficult and that’s that. I am not at all – absolutely not at all – interested in the pursuit of happiness. I am not interested in the pursuit of positivity. I am interested in pursuing a truth, and the truth often seems to be not happiness but its opposite.
  9. The inevitable is no less a shock just because it is inevitable.
  10. The space between the idea of something and its reality is always wide and deep and dark.

Jamaica Kincaid is an Antiguan-American novelist, essayist, gardener, and gardening writer. Her works include Lucy and A Small Place.

Source for Image: Sofie Sigrinn, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 25th May 2014