Author birthdays

  • December 15th

    December 15th   Muriel Rukeyser (Born  December 15, 1913)    Muriel Rukeyser (December 15, 1913 – February 12, 1980) was an American poet and political activist, best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism. Kenneth Rexroth said that she was the greatest poet of her ‘exact generation’. One of her most powerful pieces was a group of poems entitled The Book of the Dead...

  • December 14th

    December 14th   Tycho Brahe (Born December 14, 1546)    Tycho Brahe (14 December 1546 – 24 October 1601), born Tyge Ottesen Brahe, was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. He was born in Scania, then part of Denmark, now part of modern-day Sweden. Tycho was well known in his lifetime as an astronomer, astrologer and alchemist, and has...

  • December 13th

    December 13th   Kenneth Patchen (Born  December 13, 1911)    Kenneth Patchen (December 13, 1911 – January 8, 1972) was an American poet and novelist. He experimented with different forms of writing and incorporated painting, drawing, and jazz music into his works, which were often compared with those of William Blake and Walt Whitman. Patchen's biographer wrote that he ‘developed in his fabulous...

The Neglected Books Page Where forgotten books are remembered
  • Cousin to Human, by Jane Mayhall (1960)
    I learned of Jane Mayhall’s first and only novel, Cousin to Human (1960) from its inclusion in Tillie Olsen’s lists of recommended titles by women writers included in the back of her book, Silences. Olsen provided no description of it and no explanation for its mention. Cousin to Human seems to have vanished from notice […]
  • Hunter of Doves, by Josephine Herbst (1954)
    “For understanding what it was like to live to the full the turbulent American literary life of the 1920’s and 30’s as it moved from bohemianism to radicalism, there could be no more revealing figure than Josephine Herbst,” wrote Robert Gorham Davis in his review of Elinor Langer’s 1984 biography of Herbst, Josephine Herbst: The […]
  • Snow in London, from A Half of Two Lives, by Alison Waley
    The Wind Blows High The wind, the wind, the wind blows high, The snow is falling from the sky. Maisie Drummond says she’ll die For Want of the Golden City. Children’s Game The last day of February I929. At Bayswater when I enter the Underground the sky is dull as canvas and still — the […]
  • Risk, by Rachel MacKenzie (1971)
    Risk, Rachel MacKenzie’s brief account of her hospitalization and initial recovery from open-heart surgery to repair an aneurysm of the left ventricle of her heart is one of the shortest books covered on this site, just 59 pages in all. Adapted from an article she published in The New Yorker in November, 1970 as “fiction,” […]
  • “Train Window,” from Sun-Up and Other Poems, by Lola Ridge (1920)
    Train Window Small towns Crawling out of their green shirts … Tubercular towns Coughing a little in the dawn … And the church … There is always a church With its natty spire And the vestibule– That’s where they whisper: Tzz-tzz . . . tzz-tzz . . . tzz-tzz . . . How many codes […]
  • Lost Writers of the Plains, from Nebraska Educational Telecommunications
    Link: A new series of radio shows, along with a free accompanying ebook, featuring the lives and works of eight neglected writers of the American Plains, has just been released by Nebraska Educational Telecommunications. This series, organized by Professor Wendy Katz from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is a little multimedia treasure trove. For each […]
  • A Half of Two Lives, by Alison Waley (1982)
    First, let’s start with the facts, since these are not this book’s strong suit. Sometime in 1929, Arthur Waley, who was working as Assistant Keeper of Oriental Prints and Manuscripts at the British Museum and who had began to be known as a translator and popularizer of Asian literature with his publication of A Hundred […]
  • Dinner Party at Sea, from Flamingo, by Mary Borden
    The dinner party, thanks to the little pills that Mr. Parkinson always had by him, was a great success. Mr. Parkinson swallowed one, and made Mrs. Prime do the same, saying in his high, funny falsetto voice, “Here you are, Biddy,” and then the cocktail table shot across the floor and he went with it, […]
  • “How Like a Woman,” from Poems, by Alice and Caroline Duer (1986)
    How Like a Woman I you to come to-day– Or so I told you in my letter– And yet, if you had stayed away, I should have liked you so much better. I should have sipped my tea unseen, And thrilled at every door-bell’s pealing, And thought how nice I could have been Had you […]
  • A Tower of Steel, by Josephine Lawrence (1943)
    You probably couldn’t find a more resolutely practical novelist than Josephine Lawrence. In the 30-plus adult novels she wrote between 1932 and 1975, she consistently wrote about people coping with problems of everyday life: growing old, growing up, dealing with children and aging parents, trying to make ends meet, getting laid off, finding a decent […]

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(09/12/2010) Frangipani House by Beryl Gilroy. London. 1986. Heinemann. Prize winner in the GLC Black Literature Competition. keywords: Literature Caribbean Women Black Guyana. CWS37. 111 pages. Cover illustration by Ramo Avella. Cover design by Keith Pointing. 0435988522.


   FRANGIPANI HOUSE, Beryl Gilroy’s first novel, won a prize in the GLC Black Literature Competition even before it was published. Set in Guyana, it is the story of Mama King, trapped by age and infirmity, but ultimately indomitable. She becomes too much for her family who send her away to Frangipani House, a dreary claustrophobic rest home - but Mama King does not give in. She makes her mark—first-through anguish, then near madness, and finally by escape to the dangerous, dirty, vital world of the poor. FRANGIPANI HOUSE is a beautifully written protest at institutions that isolate, and a way of life that denies respect and responsibility for the weak.

Beryl Gilroy was born in Guyana, and came to England in 1951, at the start of a decade which saw 150,000 people leave the Caribbean for the UK. Although already an experienced teacher, she was forced to take jobs as a factory clerk and maid before being able to resume her career in education. She became headmistress of a North London Primary School and is now attached to the Institute of Education, University of London.




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