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Margaret Cezair-Thompson biography

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Margaret Cezair-Thompson

Margaret Cezair-Thompson

Margaret Cezair-Thompson Biography

Margaret Cezair-Thompson was born in Jamaica, West Indies; she attended St Andrews High School for Girls, a long-established government-subsidized school that has produced many of Jamaican's most prominent women.  She also spent a year at a Roman Catholic boarding school in the countryside called Servite Convent of the Assumption School for Girls—which was a bit like the school she describes Ida as attending in The Pirate's Daughter.  She was expelled after a year and returned happily to St Andrews.

She came of age as Jamaica emerged from being a British colony to being an independent nation.  She left Jamaica at nineteen years old to attend Barnard College in New York where she received a B.A. in English.  She received her Ph.D. in English from the City University of New York with a dissertation on V.S. Naipaul. Since 1990, she has taught literature and creative writing at Wellesley College. 

Her son was born in 1999, the same year that her first book, The True History of Paradise, was published. She's also published short fiction, essays, reviews, and interviews in various magazines.  Her first screenplay, Photo Finish, about a Jamaican-American athlete, was sold to Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions in 1994 (now Harpo-Disney). The True History of Paradise was selected as one of six finalists for the Dublin International IMPAC Award.

Her interests include movies, Victorian and Modern British fiction and poetry, Caribbean and British colonial history, postcolonial literature and film (especially related to the Caribbean and Africa), and Jamaican music.  The authors she returns to again and again are Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, Thomas Hardy, Paule Marshall, Ben Okri, Jean Rhys, William Shakespeare (especially the tragedies), Joyce’s Dubliners, Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Yeats, Wallace Stevens, and the King James Bible.

She currently lives in Massachusetts.

Margaret Cezair-Thompson's website

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Interview

Margaret Cezair-Thompson talks about The Pirate's Daughter, and how she came to write about Errol Flynn in Jamaica.

Why did you want to write about Errol Flynn?
It wasn't so much that I wanted to write about Errol Flynn but rather that once I came upon the setting and early images, he presented himself as a person who had been there at that time. Then a number of things fell into place in my mind: stories I'd heard about him when I was growing up in Jamaica, all that he symbolized, and the challenge of recreating him, not only as Hollywood icon but as a human with human weaknesses and hopes.

How did you research Flynn’s life? What sources did you use?
I read one or two books about him and also his own autobiography. I spoke to people who had known him and/or who remembered the time he lived in Jamaica. I watched his films countless times including the film he made that was set partly in Jamaica (Cruise of the Zaca).

What do you make of Errol Flynn? In your opinion, what sort of person do you imagine he was?
It will sound strange but I feel like I’ve gotten to know him, that I’ve lived close to him these past few years. My son has, in a sense, grown up with Errol Flynn in our home – his pictures, his movies – pirates, sea captains, Robin Hood. What I’ve come to know is a man who made mistakes, who ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Margaret Cezair-Thompson at BookBrowse
The Pirate's Daughter jacket The True History of Paradise jacket
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