"The only novelist of note to emerge from Trinidad may not be V.S. Naipaul. We may yet hear more of Lakshmi Persaud..."
"Probably the most exciting Indo Caribbean woman writer to have emerged in recent years... her work forms an important part of my teaching, not only on my course, Caribbean Women writers, but also on other aspects of our Caribbean Studies programme."
Lakshmi Persaud was born in Tunapuna, in the village of Pasea, Trinidad. Her forefathers, Hindus from Uttar Pradesh, moved from India to the Caribbean in the 1890s.
She left Trinidad to do her BA (Hons) and her Ph.D. at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland and her Post-graduate Diploma in Education at Reading University, UK.
Dr Persaud taught at well-regarded grammar schools in the West Indies (Queen’s College in Guyana, Harrison college in Barbados and St. Augustine Girl’s High School in Trinidad).
She moved to the UK in 1974 with her husband, Professor Bishnodat Persaud, prominent economist, and her three children, Rajendra, Avinash and Sharda. Lakshmi wrote articles on socio-economic concerns for newspapers and magazines for many years, she also read and simultaneously recorded books in Philosophy, Economics and Literature for the Royal National Institute for the Blind in London.
She began a new career in the late 1980s - writing fiction. Her short story 'See Saw Margery Daw', was broadcast by the BBC World service on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th November 1995 .
Her first novel 'Butterfly in the Wind' was published by Peepal Tree Press in 1990. It is still selling well and now in its sixth print. 'Sastra' was published in 1993.
In October 1994, the Trinidad Guardian published the best seller list for Caribbean books published abroad. At the time Lakshmi Persaud had published two novels in the U.K. 'Sastra' was placed first on the list and 'Butterfly in the Wind', fifth.
'For the Love of my Name', her third novel, was launched in December 1999 and public demand has meant it has also had to be reprinted.
In March 2004, 'Raise the Lanterns High' was published by Black Amber and received excellent reviews in the UK, the Caribbean and internationally.
Lakshmi's latest novel, 'Daughters of Empire' is out now and is available to order direct from Peepal Tree Press or from Amazon and other good bookstores. Follow the links in the sidebar to order your copy.
There has been increasing recognition of Lakshmi Persaud’s work by academic institutions. Her novels are being used as texts in Caribbean and post-colonial literature courses in a number of Universities including: Warwick, Birmingham, Goldsmiths College (London), London Metropolitan, Washington, Toronto, Puerto Rico, California (Los Angeles), Miami and Mills College (California), and The University of the West Indies. Extracts from her novels have been used in English examinations in the Caribbean from '11+' to GCSE level.
In recognition of her work, Warwick University established a 'Lakshmi Persaud Research Fellowship' at its Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural studies.
For the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Trinidad and Tobago, the National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) awarded Lakshmi with a Life Time Literary Award for her significant contribution to the development of Trinidad and Tobago’s Literature (November 2012).