The Arts Forum, which offers an occasional page in our Sunday Edition, has expressed deep sadness at the news of the passing of Guyanese novelist, Roy A.K. Heath, in London on Wednesday last.
Heath, who was born in 1926 in British Guiana, migrated to London in 1950 from where he would write a rich body of novels that speak directly to the social and cultural realities of his native land, both in the colonial and postcolonial periods.
Heath’s Shadow Bride won the Guyana Prize for Literature in 1989.
His short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies including the B.B.C. annual anthology and short story series up to the mid-nineties.
One work of drama, Inez Combray, was staged at the Theatre Guild, Georgetown.
Heath delivered the Edgar Mittelholzer Memorial Lectures, entitled “Art and Experience” in 1983.
His Tribute to Aubrey Williams was read at an Exhibition of the Paintings of Aubrey Williams, White Chapel Gallery, London in 1998.
Heath published the first part of his autobiography, Shadows Round the Moon, in 1991, but could not bring himself to write the second part for, in his own words, he “would have to bring England in”. He would live all his life as an exile, refusing to be adopted by Britain or claim to be British.
As a novelist, Heath represented a liberal imagination in his reinterpretations of the experiences of the diverse strands of humanity he found in the society.
Kaieteur News and the Arts Forum extend profound condolences to the bereaved family: his wife of 53 years, Millie, and their two sons, Rohan and Roy.
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