Merle Collins Biography
(c.1955– ), Because the Dawn Breaks, Rotten Pomerack, Angel, Rain Darling, The Colour of Forgetting
Grenadian poet and novelist, born in Aruba. She was a teacher and Research Officer in Latin American Affairs (1979–83). After the US invasion of Grenada she moved to Britain, where she became a member of a performance group, ‘African Dawn’, and a notable performance poet, much committed to revolution, and to women's liberation, in Grenada and elsewhere. Many of the poems in Because the Dawn Breaks (1985) employ Creole dialect to great effect; a second volume of poems, Rotten Pomerack, appeared in 1992. Her novel Angel (1987), with much of its dialogue in Creole, chronicles three generations of Grenadian women in their struggles against colonialism and post-colonial dictatorship. The eponymous heroine is a headstrong, university-educated, and disillusioned young woman determined to bring about changes in Grenada which, she learns, can be obtained only by solidarity. Angel's relationship with her more conservative and conformist mother, Doodsie, gives the novel a welcome dimension of personal and family conflict beyond the merely political. Rain Darling (1990), a collection of short stories, continues her themes on Grenadians. In her novel The Colour of Forgetting (1995), her most imaginative, lyrical, and impassioned work, Collins pays tribute to the Caribbean; set in two imaginary islands, the novel recounts the story of several generations of an ordinary family. Collins has also edited Watchers and Seekers: Creative Writing by Black Women in Britain (1987).