Perfect Paradise: Culture: Literature

Since Bahamian culture has always been an oral one, with illiteracy being the norm until the mid-20th Century, only recently has a Bahamian literary tradition begun to develop. Often utilizing the Bahamian language, modern Bahamian writers use their gifts to share some of the legendary folktales of the Bahamian people, as well as develop new ones based on modern Bahamian life that will no doubt also be passed on through the generations, now via the written word.

The College of the Bahamas, founded in 1974, is largely responsible for the surge in written folk stories over the past few decades. Their Bahamian Anthology is one of the definitive texts compiling Bahamian poetry, fiction, and plays, and the college itself has worked hard at developing its literary academic programs for young Bahamians to help foster more interest in the written arts.

Poetry, perhaps because it lends itself so well to the Bahamian tongue, has become the area of literature in which Bahamians have most successfully applied themselves. Susan Wallace, Percival Miller, and Raymond Waldin Brown, amongst others, have established themselves enough to be taught in schools abroad and deliver readings in other nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Other Bahamian writers to gain some popularity include Wendy Coakley-Thompson, a popular African-American fiction writer in the United States, spiritual and motivational writer Myles Munroe, and playwright Nicolette Bethel, as well as Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, who has become wildly popular in the Bahamas for her humor books about Bahamian life.