Writing on Water
Maggie Harris’ stories are informed by the Caribbean, where she was born, and Britain where she has lived as an adult, and through them, the wider world. Issues of belonging and migration feature, but alongside these are growing interests in voice, narrative, gardening and botany, music and family. There are both UK and Caribbean voices in these tales, told by children, migrants, mothers, grandparents.
This is a varied collection containing stories such as 'Sending for Chantal', telling a tale of Caribbean migration, set around the story of a child who hasn't seen her mother since she was 4 and is now in her 30s, which was Regional Winner of The Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014. Others include 'Sleeping Beauty', a rewrite with a Caribbean twist; 'Writing on Water', illustrating a tussle between poetry and prose and 'The Other Side of the River' drawing on memories of Guyana and its mystical stories. 'Telling Barbie' is told in the voice of a child who is unable to speak to anyone apart from her Barbie doll and her immediate family due to her tangled traumatic and yet loving family life; 'Like Lizards Ride Water' was written in response to what then appeared to be a crisis of the 'boat people' in the Mediterranean, and 'Sugarcane for my sweetheart' delves into childlessness and childhood.