Dr. Merle Collins – Grenadian poet and novelist


Dr. Merle Collins, called the foremost writer of Grenada, is the author of two novels, Angel (1987) and The Colour of Forgetting (1995), a collection of short stories, Rain Darling, (1990), and three collections of poetry, Because the Dawn Breaks (1985), Rotten Pomerack (1990) and Lady in a Boat (2003). She also co-edited a collection of creative writing entitled Watchers and Seekers: Creative Writing by Black Women in Britain (1987). Her work has been published in several anthologies. She has just completed a novel, Invisible Streams, not yet published.

Her work has been lauded by Robert Nye in The Guardian, London: "...a richness, a thickness, a stinging slangy that-there thingyness of observation and detail", by Paule Marshall: "A testament to the resiliency and strength of Black women the world over" and in the Publisher's Weekly - What distinguishes this work is its lyrical rendering ... combination of artistry and objectivity ...."

Merle Collins is not only a writer but a teacher and holder of a Guggenheim Fellowship, awarded for the academic year 2003-2004. Raised in Grenada, Dr. Collins attended St. Joseph’s Convent in St. George’s before starting her university education at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, where she received a B.A. in English and Spanish. After graduating in 1972 she spent several years teaching at the St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George’s, Grenada, Mac Donald College, Sauteurs, St Patrick’s, and Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, St. Lucia.

She later attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., earning an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a Certificate in Translation (Spanish into English) in 1980. She then studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, where she received a Ph.D. in Government.

It was while she was in England that she began writing her first novel, Angel, a story about a young woman growing up in Grenada during the political tensions, namely the U.S. invasion. “I was in England and looking back at Grenada from afar,” Dr. Collins said. “It was a privilege growing up in Grenada.” Dr. Collins attributes most of her writing to her childhood in Grenada and often writes in the Caribbean dialect.

During the years 1984 to 1995, she taught at the University of North London, England. Merle Collins is now Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland, where she teaches Creative Writing and Caribbean Literature.

Since 1995, she has been Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland, where she teaches Creative Writing and Caribbean Literature. Since then, Merle Collins has directed the University’s Study Abroad program for courses taught in Mexico, Grenada and London. She has also been Visiting Professor at the School of Arts and Sciences, St. George’s University, Grenada.

Published on 03/26/2004