Renowned Guyanese novelist, Jan Carew, dead at 92
Renowned Guyanese-born novelist, Jan Rynveld Carew, has died, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport yesterday said.
A playwright and educator also, Jan Carew wrote landmark novels among them ‘Black Midas’ and ‘Wild Coast’ – set – in Guyana, the Caribbean, Europe and elsewhere.
Carew, born September 24, 1920 at Agricola, East Bank Demerara, wrote for children, for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and for the British and Caribbean Pan Africanist Movement.
Carew was described as “the Gentle Revolutionary” for his work in promoting Black activism alongside such stalwarts as W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Cheikh Anta Diop, Kwame Nkrumah and his fellow Guyanese, Ivan Van Sertima, to name just a few.
According to the Ministry, the Guyanese intellectual must also be regarded as a citizen of the world living and producing work from bases in some ten countries across the globe.
The Ministry also notes Carew’s earlier political and philosophical forays culminating perhaps, in his 1964 piece, “Moscow Is Not My Mecca”.
It is recorded that Carew’s numerous academic works – research papers, reviews theses and assays – reflected his determination to re-examine and present alternatives to the Westernised “traditional historiographies and prevailing historical models of the conquest of the Americans”.
Carew’s works, along with Van Sertima’s, are scholarly evidence of Guyanese contributions to the Third World mental re-orientation.
“The ministry therefore offers condolences to the Carew family and all his international colleagues in the literary and academic world. “The Guyanese Wanderer” (2007) must be continuing his life’s work at a higher level.”
There were no immediate details by the Ministry on the death of Carew.
At the age of 17, he left Guyana for the United States, where he studied at Howard University and Western Reserve University (1944-8), the predecessor of Case Western Reserve University. He also went to Charles University in Prague (1948–50) and the Sorbonne in Paris.
He has taught at the University of London, Princeton, Rutgers, Illinois Wesleyan, Hampshire College, Northwestern and Lincoln Universities.
Jan Carew has lived in Holland, Mexico, England, France, Spain, Ghana, Canada and the United States. In England, he acted with Sir Laurence Olivier and edited the Kensington Post.