Writing in the Key of Life is the first critical collection devoted to the British-Caribbean author Caryl Phillips, a major voice in contemporary anglophone literatures. Phillips’s impressive body of fiction, drama, and non-fiction has garnered wide praise for its formal inventiveness and its incisive social criticism as well as its unusually sensitive understanding of the human condition.
The twenty-six contributions offered here, including two by Phillips himself, address the fundamental issues that have preoccupied the writer in his now three-decades-long career – the enduring legacy of history, the intricate workings of identity, and the pervasive role of race, class, and gender in societies worldwide.
Most of Phillips’s writing is covered here, in essays that approach it from various thematic and interpretative angles. These include the interplay of fact and fiction, Phillips’s sometimes ambiguous literary affiliations, his long-standing interest in the black and Jewish diasporas, his exploration of Britain and its ‘Others’, and his recurrent use of motifs such as masking and concealment.
Writing in the Key of Life testifies to the vitality of Phillipsian scholarship and confirms the significance of an artist whose concerns, at once universal and topical, find particular resonance with the state of the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Contributors: Thomas Bonnici, Fatim Boutros, Gordon Collier, Sandra Courtman, Stef Craps, Alessandra Di Maio, Malik Ferdinand, Cindy Gabrielle, Lucie Gillet, Dave Gunning, Tsunehiko Kato, Wendy Knepper, Bénédicte Ledent, John McLeod, Peter H. Marsden, Joan Miller Powell, Imen Najar, Caryl Phillips, Renée Schatteman, Kirpal Singh, Petra Tournay–Theodotou, Chika Unigwe, Itala Vivan, Abigail Ward, Louise Yelin