In her long and illustrious career, Jamaica Kincaid has tackled many genres of literature. So best believe her when she says that her 2013 work "See Now Then" is a novel and a work of fiction. Period.
That's why, she said in a discussion with Hector Tobar on Sunday at the Festival of Books, "the most irritating thing" about the reaction to the book has been the insinuation that it is really a roman-a-clef, a memoir disguised as a fiction.
"I will assert that if I were a white man this would not be the conversation," Kincaid told the audience at the Embassy Room Auditorium, who responded with a round of applause.
Kincaid dispensed spirited opinions and forthright answers on a number of subjects during the hour-long presentation. That included her explanation of why, and how, she started to write. Writing, she said, "was something that no one who looked like me or was from my part of the world had ever done." And she sought to write in a way that encompassed "the history of people like me."