A new biography of Dominica’s most famous author, Jean Rhys, has just been published to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of her death on 14th May 1979.
Rhys is most famous for Wide Sargasso Sea, the Jane Eyre prequel that tells the tale of the first Mrs Rochester. The novel was largely inspired by the landscapes and lifestyle Rhys experienced growing up as a white Creole in Dominica – a period that is explored in Lilian Pizzichini’s new biography, The Blue Hour: A Portrait of Jean Rhys.
Jean Rhys was born Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams in 1890 in Dominica’s capital, Roseau. The influence of Dominica in Rhys’s works has been identified by island historian Lennox Honychurch – from her first-written novel Voyage in the Dark about a young girl emigrating from Dominica to England; to locations including the site of the Geneva Estate near Grand Bay – a plantation acquired by Rhys’s great-grandfather and later destroyed by arsonists which becomes the scene of the burning of ‘Coulibri’ in Wide Sargasso Sea.
Visitors to Dominica can also view Rhys’ childhood home; the Anglican church where she was christened and her father was buried; and the Carib Territory, which Jean Rhys visited on her return to Dominica in 1936.
For more information on Jean Rhys’s Dominica, please visit www.lennoxhonychurch.com/jeanrhysbio.cfm
Tour operator Jetlife is currently offering free nights and discounted rates at the Fort Young Hotel in Roseau, an ideal base for travellers wishing to explore the island that influenced Jean Rhys.
Travellers can stay for seven nights and pay for five with packages starting from £729 per person; or stay for fourteen nights and pay for ten with packages starting from £959 per person. These deals also include complimentary upgrade to the next room category and are subject to availability. The price includes return flights to Dominica with British Airways and is valid for travel in May, June and July 2009. Book before 30th June 2009 with Jetlife on 0871 902 7877 or see www.jetlife.co.uk
For further information on travelling to Dominica, see www.discoverdominica.com