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Harlem Renaissance and Caribbean Writer Eric Walrond Gets Renewed Attention with Publication of New Book

Long Island University English Professor Louis J. Parascandola is Co-Editor of “In Search of Asylum: The Later Writings of Eric Walrond”

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Alka Gupta,Assistant Director of Public Relations
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Eric WalrondBrooklyn, N.Y. – One of the most significant yet little known authors of the Harlem Renaissance literary movement, Eric Walrond, gets a renewed look with the publication of a new book, “In Search of Asylum: The Later Writings of Eric Walrond.”

Edited by Louis J. Parasacandola, professor of English at Long Island University Brooklyn Campus, and Carl A. Wade, senior lecturer in English at the University of West Indies, the book introduces the later works of Walrond, whose 1926 short-story collection, “Tropic Death,” was highly influential during the Harlem Renaissance. The book is published by the University Press of Florida.

“Walrond was one of the original transnational writers,” said Professor Parascandola, an expert on Caribbean literature and the Harlem Renaissance. “He explored themes of Black identity, colonialism and imperialism, race and migration.”

Born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1898, Walrond also grew up in Barbados, and Panama. He immigrated in 1918 to New York City, where his experiences with racism impelled his early fiction and sparked his interest in Marcus Garvey and Charles S. Johnson. His book, “Tropic Death,” earned praise from such prominent figures as W. E. B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes. He was one of the first African-American writers to be awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. Walrond left the United States in 1928 and settled in Europe, where he lived until his death in 1966.

“In Search of Asylum” compiles Walrond’s European journalism and later fiction, as well as the pieces he wrote during the 1950s at Roundway Hospital in England, where he was a voluntary patient. Professors Parascandola and Wade have assembled a collection that fills in the biographical gaps in Walrond’s life.

Their book has been described as “a substantial step forward for black diaspora and black transnational literary studies” by author Gary Edward Holcomb and as filling “a significant void in our understanding of the life and literary career of Eric Walrond.”
Professor Parascandola is the author or editor of six previous books, including “Look for Me All Around You”: Anglophone Caribbean Immigrants in the Harlem Renaissance” and “Winds Can Wake Up the Dead.”

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Posted 02/22/2011

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