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Eric Walrond: A Caribbean Writer in Wiltshire

A FREE talk at Melksham Community Campus, by David Dawson, Wiltshire Museum Director

Join us to hear about Eric Walrond and view some objects from the recently closed Cooper Avon Tire factory, where Eric worked during the 1940s.

Eric Walrond was at the heart of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s – a flowering of Black music, dance poetry, art and writing that produced celebrated names such as Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes and Louis Armstrong. Walrond was one of the best known writers, and he worked with Marcus Garvey campaigning for civil rights and writing influential newspaper articles. In 1926, he published ‘Tropic Death’ which a contemporary said moved him into the ranks of American artists with his fiercely realistic Caribbean tale. He was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and moved to Paris and then London.

In 1939, Walrond moved to Wiltshire, living during the War in Bradford on Avon, working in a local factory and writing articles for US newspapers about life in wartime Britain. After the War, he moved to Melksham, working at the Avon Rubber Factory.

For much of his life, he struggled with his mental health and in 1952 he voluntarily admitted himself to Roundway Hospital in Devizes. The hospital was known to be progressive in its treatment of mental health and he seems to have found comfort there, where he witnessed “astonishing examples of brotherliness and self-sacrifice”. While at the Hospital he wrote over 40 articles for the Roundway Review, regaining his enthusiasm for writing.

The talk is one of the activities taking place during the Eric Walrond: a Caribbean Writer in Wiltshire exhibition, which is on display at Wiltshire Museum until Saturday 9 March

Please register for this FREE event below, so we know you are coming!

Date: Wednesday 3 April
Time: 2 pm to 3 pm
Location: Melksham Community Campus, Market Place, Melksham, SN12 6ES

Tickets: FREE, but please book a ticket below.

Image of a new painting of Eric Walrond by Clifton Powell

  • 3rd April 2024
  • 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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