An Antiguan native, Jamaica Kincaid is a well known writer of American novels and gardening material; she is also a gardener. She was born Elaine Cynthia Richardson on the 25th of May 1949 in St. Johns on the small island of Antigua and Barbuda.
In the early years of this world renowned writer’s life she lived with her mother and stepfather. She got her education from early childhood to secondary level under the British system; Antigua was also one of the colonies until the year 1966. The main source of income for the family was from carpentry as her stepfather was a carpenter.
She left the island when she was sixteen years old and traveled to New York and started working immediately as an au pair for a family. Later on she moved to working at a magazine in the position as a fast checker, this was at Forbes Magazine. While working at the magazine she made friends and was real close with reporter Marsha Daniel and Myles Ludwig; who was husband and wife.
This was a big move from being a penniless au pair to a staff writer. She was serious in becoming an author and she befriended numerous persons, which includes an editorial director who worked for Art Direction magazine; a music critic named Peter Ainsley who worked at Women’s Wear Daily. When Peter Ainsley started to work later for Times magazine, he and Richardson spent a lot of time together.
Elaine Richardson later went to finish her education at the university level and soon after was hired by Ludwig at Art Direction. She went on to study at New School for Social Research and here she did studies in photography. However, she still continued to study and spent a year in New Hampshire where she went to the Franconia College. After finishing at this college she then went to work for New Yorker magazine.
Richardson started her writing career and changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid; her reason for this change was her fear that people from her island would not comprehend the topics that she was writing about.
This new name was adapted in 1973 when her friends and family from Antigua disapproved of things she was writing about. She always referred to those fears as a hindrance in the beginning to produce strong materials but as she started to write her novels she found her strength. The first experience that she had at the start of her career was a series of articles that she wrote for Ingenue Magazine. In the year 1995 she stopped working as a staff writer at The New Yorker.
At this time she had written numerous novel, essays, poems and short stories. She wrote several materials that were featured in The New Yorker. There was a poem that was called ‘Girl” that appeared on the 26th of June 1978 and later in 1984 in the story entitled “At the Bottom of the river” which was also published in this magazine.
Some of the other works that was done over the years includes “Annie John”, “A small place”, “Lucy”, “Biography of a Dress”, “Annie, Gwen, Lily, Pam and Tulip”, “My Brother”, “Talk Stories”, “My Garden”, “Mr. Potter”, “Figures in the distance” and numerous other materials.
Jamaica Kincaid is a writer that is not afraid to touch on issues where other persons would not dare to venture. She projects this natural ability to attract attention and this was reflected through many of work. Kincaid is truly a popular author worldwide and has carved out her own unique space in the American literary arena.