Sushiela Nasta


Although a sense of the need to migrate clearly affected early writers born in the Caribbean such as the Jamaican, Claude McKay who left in 1912 for the United States, the period immediately following the Second World War was particularly important for the arrival m London of a number of talented young West Indians artists. London, as Henry Swanzy the producer of the influential BBC Radio programme Caribbean Voices once aptly observed, had become a 'literary headquarters'. It had become a centre where writers from the various islands were meeting for the first time and attempted paradoxically perhaps after departure from the islands to establish a firm West Indian cultural identity. It was also a time when over 40,000 West Indians emigrated to Britain in search of employment. Originally invited to the 'mother-country' by the post-war government as an attempt to solve the immediate labour crisis followmg the Second World War and commonly known as the 'Windrush generation', these islanders moved to Britain expectant to improve their standard of living. But the streets of London were not paved with gold and the Journey from island to city, was in many cases one only of disappointment and disillusion.



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