Oct 192020

23 Marchmont Crescent, Edinburgh EH9 1HQ

23 Marchmont Crescent

In the 1960s, Kenneth Ramchand lived in a “Trinidad Boys” flat at 23 Marchmont Crescent. Ramchand completed his MA and PhD at Edinburgh, writing his thesis on Caribbean Literature. In his book of collected essays Disappointed Guests, Ramchand writes about his loneliness and experiences of racism at Edinburgh. He describes how both romantic and platonic friendships with white students were taboo, and how in his first year he had to stick “firmly to the group” of fellow West Indians. One white student could not comprehend that he did not play calypso or cricket, signaling, in Ramchand’s words, his “refusal to see the black man as a whole individual.” After leaving Edinburgh, Ramchand became the first Professor of West Indian Literature at the University of the West Indies, and published his first book, The West Indian Novel and its Background in 1970. He said: “it was influential in the creation and internationalization of an academic discipline called “West Indian Literature”; it stimulated the development of graduate studies in the Department of English of the University of the West Indies.” Ramchand has been the recipient of many awards, including the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters (2014).

Kenneth Ramchand (left) with Surinamese writer Ismene Krishnadath
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