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Jamaica Kincaid left Antigua for New York in the 1970s and made a name for herself as part of a vibrant literary scene. Known for lyrical, powerful prose, Kincaid recently published her first novel in a decade. Many reviewers are asking how closely it hews to her own life, questions she says miss the point entirely. Kojo talks with Kincaid about what's really at the heart of "See Now Then," her childhood and her career thus far.
Jamaica Kincaid, the novelist behind "See Now Then" and "A Small Place," talks about why she changed her birth name from Elaine Richardson. Kincaid, who grew up on the island of Antigua, said she knew she wanted to write about her family and thought she might fail at it. She wanted a pen name -- which would later become the name used on her passport -- that paid homage to her Caribbean and Scottish heritage. Kincaid considered many combinations of names, including Havana Davenport.
Excerpted from "See Now Then" by Jamaica Kincaid, published in February 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Copyright © 2013 by Jamaica Kincaid. All rights reserved.