Windrush Day: Anthony Joseph & Kitch

Saturday 22 Jun 2019 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Photo of Anthony Joseph

Anthony Joseph
Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypson Icon

22 June 2019
Essex Record Office, Chelmsford CM2 6YT

For Windrush Day 2019 we hosted a fascinating talk by poet, novelist, and musician, described as ‘the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain’. Anthony talked about his latest novel Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypson Icon, inspired by Lord Kitchener.

Here are some photo highlights (from our Flickr image archive):

Windrush Day 2019

Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypson Icon

  • Shortlisted for the republic of Consciousness Prize 2019
  • “A richly textured first-person narrative” The Times Literary Supplement

Combining factual biography with the imaginative structure and investment in the language of the novel, Anthony Joseph fully engages with the world he recreates, and by presenting a multifaceted view from Kitch’s friends, rivals and even enemies, he gets to the heart of the man behind the music and the myth, reaching behind the sobriquet to present a holistic portrait of the calypso icon Lord Kitchener.

Born into colonial Trinidad in 1922 as Aldwyn Roberts, ‘Kitch’ emerged in the 1950s after arriving on the Empire Windrush, being at the forefront of multicultural Britain, acting as an intermediary between the growing Caribbean community, the islands they had left behind, and the often hostile conditions of life in post-war Britain. In the process, Kitch, as he was affectionately called, single-handedly popularised the calypso in Britain, with recordings such as ‘London is the Place for Me’, ‘The Underground Train’ and ‘Ghana’.

The author spoke to Lord Kitchener just once, in 1984, when he found the calypso icon standing alone for a moment in Queen’s Park Savannah, one Carnival Monday afternoon. It was a pivotal meeting in which the great calypsonian outlined his musical vision, an event which forms a moving epilogue to Kitch, Anthony’s unique biography of the Grandmaster.

More about Anthony

Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as ‘the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain’. He is the author of Kitch, which was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and four poetry collections. His written work and performance occupies a space between surrealism, Jazz and the rhythms of Caribbean speech and music. He lives in London and performs internationally.

Windrush Day in Chelmsford
Essex is the Place For Me!

Saturday 22 June 2019

This event was part of our Windrush Day celebrations at Essex Record Office on 22 June, when we invited all to join us to discuss issues relating to Windrush, and also celebrate Afro-Caribbean culture with a whole day of food, music, dance, poetry and art. There was live music from the Phase 5 Steelpan Band, food from Jerk Station, plus a programme of exciting talks and films, a family drop-in workshop and a pop-up exhibition. The event was hosted by our compere, Lawrence Walker, Chair of Black History Month Colchester.

Read about the whole day’s programme here

The day was supported through the Government’s Windrush Day Grant Scheme to support communities to commemorate and celebrate the outstanding contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants.  50 community groups, arts organisations and local authorities across the country used the funding to lead school projects, street parties, exhibitions, talks and workshops to recognise and honour the immense legacy of those who stepped ashore at Tilbury Docks over 70 years ago.


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