Soon after his birth, Earl Lovelace moved with his mother to the island of Tobago, where they lived with his mother’s parents. Lovelace credits his grandmother, Eva Whatley, of African and American Indian ancestry, and his mother, Jean Whatley Lovelace, as major influences during his youth. Although Lovelace attended Scarborough Methodist Primary School in Tobago before moving to Port of Spain, Trinidad, for his high school years, 1948 to 1953, he considers himself largely self-educated. Beginning in early childhood, Lovelace read American and English literature voraciously, especially admiring William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway.
From 1953 to 1954 Lovelace worked as a proofreader for a Trinidad newspaper. In 1956 he became a forest ranger for the Department of Forestry, remaining in the Trinidad civil service as an agricultural assistant in the Department of Agriculture until 1966. During the 1961-1962 school year Lovelace attended the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry. His work experiences deepened Lovelace’s understanding of the land and people of Trinidad, informing the widely praised descriptive passages and the vernacular language of his books and plays.
Lovelace’s first novel, While Gods Are Falling (1965) tells the story of Walter Castle, who migrated from his rural birthplace to the slums of Trinidad’s capital city, Port of Spain. Castle’s memories of his home village’s supportive community contrast with the problems of poor families struggling against the destructive life of urban...
(The entire section is 638 words.)