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My St. Kitts and Nevis: Carol Ottley Mitchell

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Written by Chantel DaCosta

 

 

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Nevis-born Carol Ottley-Mitchell is the self-published author of thirteen children’s books. Ten of the books are based in the Caribbean. Carol’s books have been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Children’s Literature every year since 2014. Carol is also the founder of CaribbeanReads Publishing which focuses on publishing books by authors of the Caribbean. The CaribbeanReads catalogue features 25 books to date, ranging from picture books to books for adults. Her upcoming young adult novel, Barberry Hill, has been short-listed for the 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.  Today, Carol shares her love for St. Kitts and Nevis.

Describe St. Kitts and Nevis in three words.

Serene, beautiful, friendly.

What is your favourite Kittitian traditional dish, and why?

Goat water. I don’t eat it anymore, but I love soup and this is a particularly flavourful and delicious soup.

What book from your childhood, would you pick up and re-read today?

The Witches by Roald Dahl or almost any of his books. Many of my favourites of his came out after I was past the age of his target audience but I still read them, and then later to my children.

Who was your best teacher and how did they inspire you?

Oh, there are so many, I would not know how to pinpoint just one. I attribute the fact that I recall so much French and Spanish grammar to having excellent language teachers in high school.  My love of literature is due to my English teachers.  And the fact that I can keep up with my children’s high school math homework is a credit to my dear math teacher, Mr. Stevens. The teachers who inspired me had one thing in common – they knew their job was important! They showed up, and put their all into teaching.

What would you like see develop in Caribbean literature and publishing in the next five years?

I would like to see a wider variety of authors recognised for writing authentically about their experiences whether they are Caribbean people or as Caribbean people living abroad.

What was your favourite subject in high school?

Mathematics.

What is your favourite music?

Soca.

What is your favourite time of the year?

Christmas.

You are a writer and as well as a publisher, please share an overview of your publishing company, CaribbeanReads.

CaribbeanReads is a small publishing company focused on giving authors of Caribbean descent an opportunity to be published. Our authors include two award winning titles, and authors from a number of islands including St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua, St. Vincent, Trinidad, and other islands. We also provide editing and consulting services to authors whose work is commendable but not suited to our publishing aims.

What major developments would you like to see happen in St. Kitts and Nevis in the next 20 years?

I am not sure where our islands will be in 20 years, but I would like to see our nationals as the primary owners of the industries that are the mainstay of the economy.

Where would you recommend as a ‘must go’ to a first time visitor to St. Kitts and Nevis?

Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is an incredible, beautiful, and inspiring place to visit. You must take your time to absorb the majesty of the place while recognising the enormous sacrifices that our African ancestors made in its construction.

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