Searching for Safe Spaces: Afro-Caribbean Women Writers in Exile (Temple University Press, 1997)


Understanding exile as flight from political persecution or forms of oppression that single out women, Myriam J. A. Chancy concentrates on diasporic writers and filmmakers who depict the vulnerability of women to poverty and exploitation in their homelands and their search for safe refuge. These Afro-Caribbean feminists probe the complex issues of race, nationality, gender, sexuality, and class that limit women’s lives. They portray the harsh conditions that all too commonly drive women into exile, depriving them of security and a sense of belonging in their adopted countries – the United States, Canada, or England. As they rework traditional literary forms, artists such as Joan Riley, Beryl Gilroy, M. Nourbese Philip, Dionne Brand, Makeda Silvera, Audre Lorde, Rosa Guy, Michelle Cliff, and Marie Chauvet give voice to Afro-Caribbean women’s alienation and longing to return home. Whether the return home is realized geographically or metaphorically, the poems, fiction, and film considered in this book speak boldly of self-definition and transformation.