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Jamaica Kincaid: "Captain Bligh's Bounty" at Fales Library, April 30th

April 15, 2013
N-278, 2012-13

New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections at the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library presents a talk by Jamaica Kincaid, "Captain Bligh's Bounty,” Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at 6:30p.m. at the Fales Library, third floor, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, (at LaGuardia Place). [Subways A,C,E, B,D,M to West 4th Street; 6 line to Astor Place; R train to 8th Street.].

Kincaid’s talk is part of the ongoing exhibition “Sylvester Manor: Land, Food and Power on a New York Plantation,” on display through July 15, 2013 in the Mamdouha Bobst Gallery, main floor, concurrent with the publication of Mac Griswold’s THE MANOR: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, July 2) and Katherine Howlett Hayes’s SLAVERY BEFORE RACE: Europeans, Indians, and Africans on Long Island’s Sylvester Manor Plantation, 1651-1884 (NYU Press, April)

Kincaid will speak about the role played in her childhood on Antigua by breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis, and other food crops introduced into the West Indies in the 18th century.  Soon after its initial identification in Tahiti in 1769 by English botanist Sir Joseph Banks as a cheap, nutritious, and easy-to-cultivate starchy food, efforts were made to bring breadfruit to the Caribbean.

The title of Kincaid’s talk, "Captain Bligh's Bounty,” references the infamous “Mutiny on the Bounty,” the story about William Bligh, captain of the HMS Bounty and his mutinous crew.  Bligh went to Tahiti to collect 1,000 breadfruit tree plants, all of which perished when his crew famously mutinied.  Undeterred, the British empire saw to it that breadfruit finally arrived in the colonial sugar islands in 1791, where it was initially rejected by the slaves it was intended to feed.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.  Please email

WHO:  Jamaica Kincaid, author of At the Bottom of the River, A Small Place, Lucy, My Brother, and others;

WHAT:  "Captain Bligh's Bounty”—Kincaid talks about childhood memories of breadfruit and other food crops introduced from the South Seas to the Caribbean to feed the slaves;

WHERE:  Fales Library, third floor, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, (at LaGuardia Place);

WHEN: Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at 6:30p.m.

Kincaid’s new novel, See Now Then (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, February 2013), her first in ten years, is a marriage is revealed in all its joys and agonies. This piercing examination of the manifold ways in which the passing of time operates on the human consciousness unfolds gracefully, and Kincaid inhabits each of her characters—a mother, a father, and their two children, living in a small village in New England—as they move, in their own minds, between the present, the past, and the future: for, as she writes, “the present will be now then and the past is now then and the future will be a now then.” Her characters, constrained by the world, despair in their domestic situations. But their minds wander, trying to make linear sense of what is, in fact, nonlinear. See Now Then is Kincaid’s attempt to make clear what is unclear, and to make unclear what we assumed was clear: that is, the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Kincaid's short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review and The New Yorker, where her novel Lucy was originally serialized.  Her first book, At the Bottom of the River, was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.  Awards she has received include the Center for Fiction's Clifton Fadiman Medal, the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the Prix Femina Étranger, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award.

The exhibition, “Sylvester Manor: Land, Food and Power on a New York Plantation,” which runs through July 15, 2013, is in the Mamdouha S. Bobst Gallery, Bobst Library (first floor), New York University. The exhibition is free and open to the public from 9:30am-6:00 pm, Monday through Saturday.

About Fales Library and Special Collections:

The Fales Library, comprising nearly 200,000 volumes, and over 8,000 linear feet of archive and manuscript materials, houses the Fales Collection of rare books and manuscripts in English and American literature, the Downtown Collection, the Food and Cookery Collection and the general Special Collections of the NYU Libraries. The Fales Collection was given to NYU in 1957 by DeCoursey Fales in memory of his father, Haliburton Fales. It is especially strong in English literature from the middle of the 18th century to the present, documenting developments in the novel. The Downtown Collection documents the downtown New York art, performance, and literary scenes from 1975 to the present and is extremely rich in archival holdings, including extensive film and video objects. The Food and Cookery Collection is a vast, and rapidly expanding collection of books and manuscripts documenting food and foodways with particular emphasis on New York City. Other strengths of the collection include the Berol Collection of Lewis Carroll Materials, the Robert Frost Library, the Kaplan and Rosenthal Collections of Judaica and Hebraica and the manuscript collections of Elizabeth Robins and Erich Maria Remarque.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Events, Fales, Division of Libraries

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Christopher James | (212) 998-6876

Jamaica Kincaid: "Captain Bligh's Bounty" at Fales Library, April 30th

Jamaica Kincaid’s See Now Then starts at a pitch of intensity most novels are lucky to reach at their climax. Photograph by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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