Vincentian-born, Taiwan-based writer, poet, journalist and cultural ambassador Peggy Carr has written her first novel, “Shape of a Warrior.”
Carr — a former deputy chief information officer in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before migrating to Taiwan at the end of 2000 — told Caribbean Life that “Shape of a Warrior” is an “historical fiction novel” that is “set in the Caribbean in the pre-Columbian era.”
She said the novel is “a captivating tale about the indomitable spirit of a young adventurer and her unlikely friend in the battle-centered world of the indigenous Kalina people.”
Written for a young adult audience, Carr — also an accomplished poet, who has been working for many years as an editor at Taiwan’s premier media organization, the Central News Agency — said the story behind the coming-of-age “Shape of a Warrior” is told in “soaring language about the escapades, struggles and challenges of the two main characters, Yurubi and Aloo, on the island of Hiroon.”
“For Yurubi, who dreams of boat building, Aloo grows to become a friend like no other, although he’s terrified of the sea,” Carr said. “Together, they secretly explore the forest near his cave hideout, learn to make weapons and tools, play wrestling games, hunt, and build small river boats.
“But their world of adventure crumbles when Aloo is forced out of hiding and as Yurubi’s unwomanly skills become apparent,” she added. “Under the cryptic eye of the village shaman, Yurubi and Aloo struggle against their anguish, fears and misgivings to fight for a place on an island that’s home to some of the most fearsome warriors on Earth.”
In the Author’s Note, Carr — who also worked as a librarian at the UWI Open Campus and Kingstown Public Library in St. Vincent and the Grenadines – says the story was inspired by her “deep desire to know what life was like for the indigenous people of her home country, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Hiroon), before the arrival of the Europeans.
“Almost every account I had read of the Kalina was written by a European — a sailor, a soldier, a missionary or a settler — and obviously had been filtered through the lenses of their own cultural and societal norms,” she says. “There was very little on record that reflected the perspective of the early Kalina people.
“That led me to ponder the words of American author Toni Morrison: ‘If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,’” adds Carr, whose poems have been published worldwide.
“Shape of a Warrior” is available in Kindle and paperback formats on Amazon marketplaces internationally and in bookstores in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.