Caryl Phillips is one of the most respected writers of his generation. An award-winning author best known for his fiction, essays and stage plays, he is also the author of radio plays, nine of which were broadcast by the BBC between 1984 and 2016. Previously locked away in Phillips’s archives, housed at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, these hidden gems are now published in Caryl Phillips’s Radio Plays, the first collection of these important works of drama.
Despite being previously overlooked, these radio plays are fully creative works and constitute an integral part of Caryl Phillips’s literary universe. Not only do these dramatic texts display the author’s hallmark mix of formal elegance and sharp social criticism, but they also offer compelling points of comparison with the rest of his wider writing. From the experience on an eighteenth-century slave ship and the life of a migrant family in 1980s England, to an account of James Baldwin’s time in Paris and Marvin Gaye’s stay in Belgium, these plays grapple with expansive themes in creative and dramatic ways.
Contextualized by a scholarly introduction by Bénédicte Ledent, this volume introduces these works in the published form for the first time, allowing readers a better grasp of Phillips’s narrative techniques, offering fascinating vistas into his imaginary world, which ranges from the history of the African diaspora to the predicament of displaced individuals the world over.