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Riley, Joan

(British, 1958– )

Riley was born in St Mary, Jamaica, educated at the universities of Sussex and London, and began working for welfare agencies in London in 1983. Begin with The Unbelonging (1985), characteristic of her work in its treatment of a woman's experiences after emigrating to England from the Caribbean. The book's 11-year-old heroine takes refuge from racism and her father's violent abuse by immersing herself in her education. Waiting in the Twilight (1987) tells the story of Adela, who leaves her home and her children in Jamaica to join her husband in Britain after the Second World War. Desiree and Verona, the sisters at the centre of Romance (1988), find their complacency challenged when visitors from Jamaica renew the sisters’ contact with their origins. Set in Jamaica, A Kindness to the Children (1992) finds the lives of three women fatefully converging as each is forced into a confrontation with her past.

Rosa Guy, Ntokaze Shange, Olive Senior  DH

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Pa-Sc)