Anne Walmsley
Born1931 (age 91–92)
Alma materDurham University; Sussex University
  • Editor
  • scholar
  • critic
  • author
Known forSpecialist in Caribbean art and literature
Notable workThe Caribbean Artists Movement: A Literary and Cultural History, 1966–1971 (1992)
Art in the Caribbean (2010)
AwardsHenry Swanzy Award, 2018

Anne Walmsley (born 1931)[1] is a British-born editor, scholar, critic and author, notable as a specialist in Caribbean art and literature, whose career spans five decades. She is widely recognised for her work as Longman's Caribbean publisher,[2] and for Caribbean books that she authored and edited. Her pioneering school anthology, The Sun's Eye: West Indian Writing for Young Readers (1968), drew on her use of local literary material while teaching in Jamaica. A participant in and chronicler of the Caribbean Artists Movement,[3][4] Walmsley is also the author of The Caribbean Artists Movement: A Literary and Cultural History, 1966–1971 (1992) and Art in the Caribbean (2010). She lives in London.[5]

Education and career

Anne Walmsley has a BA in English from Durham University, and an MA in African Studies from Sussex University.[6]

In the late 1950s, she worked for four years as a secretary at Faber and Faber,[2] before going on to teach for three years at Westwood High School in Jamaica.[3] On returning to London, she was employed for a while with the BBC Schools television service, before joining the publisher Longman in 1967 as their first editor for the Caribbean, focused on providing local educational material, in which role she travelled throughout the region for nine years.[3][2] Her experience teaching in Jamaica between 1959 and 1963 informed her compilation of the anthology The Sun's Eye, which drew on Caribbean literary material; published in 1968, the anthology went on to secure an ongoing presence on school syllabuses.[7][8] Caribbean writers published at Longman's on Walmsley's watch include Roy Heath (whose first novel, A Man Come Home, she took on in 1974),[9] George Lamming, Samuel Selvon and Ismith Khan.[10] During this time Walmsley participated in the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM), founded in 1966 by Kamau Brathwaite (known then L. Edward Brathwaite), John La Rose and Andrew Salkey.

After 10 years as Longman's Caribbean publisher, she spent two years in Nairobi as Publishing Manager for Longman Kenya,[11] and on her return to the UK she took an MA in African Studies at the University of Sussex. She subsequently worked as a freelance editor and consultant, and was also active with ATCAL (the Association for the Teaching of Caribbean and Africa Literature, founded in the late 1970s).[3] In 1985 she began research into CAM, funded by a Leverhulme Fellowship.[12] Another landmark anthology, Facing the Sea (1986), co-edited by Walmsley (with Nick Caistor), introduced writing from the Dutch, French and Spanish Caribbean to secondary school students of the Anglophone Caribbean, its regional span prompted by discussion of such writing in CAM. In 1992 she was awarded a PhD from the University of Kent for her thesis on CAM.[6] That same year it was published as a book by New Beacon Books, entitled The Caribbean Artists Movement: A Literary and Cultural History, 1966–1971, and is considered to be a "groundbreaking study".[13] In addition she taught part of an MA course, "Aspects of Caribbean Art", at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in 2000.[14]

Walmsley's articles have appeared in many journals and literary magazines over the years, among them BIM, Wasafiri, South, BOMB, ArtsEtc, and elsewhere.[15][16] She has also contributed essays to exhibition catalogues and has produced critical writings on Caribbean visual artists, especially Aubrey Williams.[17][18] Her 1990 book Guyana Dreaming, which Williams saw in manuscript 10 days before his death, was the first significant publication on the artist's work.[14] She co-edited Art in the Caribbean: an Introduction with Stanley Greaves, in collaboration with Christopher Cozier, launching the volume at the October Gallery in October 2010.[19]

The Anne Walmsley Collection & Archive

In 2016–17, she donated her collection of documents on Caribbean art – including exhibition catalogues, photographs, interviews and correspondence with artists, and other papers – to the Alma Jordan Library at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.[20]

Earlier she had donated her Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM) research material to the George Padmore Institute in London,[21] her correspondence with Caribbean writers over many years to the University of Sussex, and her library of Caribbean literature to the University of Newcastle.[22]

Later in 2018, Anne Walmsley donated material to Newcastle University Robinson Library Special Collections and Archives, as part of the Walmsley (Anne) Archive.


Walmsley was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, Jamaica, in 2009. The citation stated: "Dr. Anne Walmsley has long crossed over from being a distant enthusiast or detached observer of the still flowering Caribbean literary and artistic tradition: rather we can comfortably recognize her as an integral and active component of the Caribbean Artists Movement."[20]

At the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in 2018 Walmsley was named as the recipient of the Henry Swanzy Award in recognition of her distinguished service to Caribbean letters.[22] In the words of the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, reporting the award: "One of the most avid supporters and facilitators of Caribbean literature for many decades, Anne Walmsley shepherded key writers into print during her time at Longman, and her school anthologies exposed generations of Caribbean children to the literature of their home region."[23]

Selected bibliography


  1. ^ "Walmsley, Anne, (b 1931), lecturer, artist and author". The National Archives.
  2. ^ a b c "Why publish independently?", George Padmore Institute.
  3. ^ a b c d "About the author (1989)", The Sun's Eye: West Indian Writing for Young Readers.
  4. ^ Bill Schwarz (ed.), West Indian Intellectuals in Britain, Manchester University Press, 2013.
  5. ^ "Anne Walmsley", Iniva.
  6. ^ a b Eddie Chambers, Black Artists in British Art: A History from 1950 to the Present, I.B.Tauris, 2014, Note 35, pp. 214–215.
  7. ^ Elleke Boehmer, Rouven Kunstmann, Priyasha Mukhopadhyay and Asha Rogers, "(G)localisation, Examining and Textbooks in the Anglophone Caribbean", in The Global Histories of Books: Methods and Practices, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, p. 110.
  8. ^ Anthony Boxill and Edward Baugh, "Anthologies (Caribbean)", in Eugene Benson and L. W. Conolly, Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English (Second edition), Routledge, 2005, pp. 47–48.
  9. ^ Margaret Busby, "Roy AK Heath" (obituary), The Guardian, 20 May 2008.
  10. ^ Charlotte Williams and Evelyn A. Williams, Denis Williams, a Life in Works: New and Collected Essays, Rodopi, 2010, p. 107.
  11. ^ Anne Walmsley, "Longman Caribbean: Kenya", pp. 87–94, in Tim Rix (ed.), Longmans More Latter-day Memories, Personal and Various, printed for private circulation, 2012.
  12. ^ "Caribbean Artists Movement", George Padmore Institute.
  13. ^ Gail Low, Publishing Commonwealth: The Case of West Indian Writing, 1950–65, Brunel University, p. 84.
  14. ^ a b "Anne Walmsley", Diaspora Artists.
  15. ^ Julie Pearn, "Bibliography", Poetry as Performing Art in the English-Speaking Caribbean (PhD thesis), University of Sheffield, October 1985, p. 364.
  16. ^ Anne Walmsley, "For Kamau: A Quipu of Key Moments in the 50th Year of Our Friendship", ArtsEtc, 2015.
  17. ^ "Draft transcript of an interview with Aubrey Williams by Anne Walmsley", Tate, 28 March 1972.
  18. ^ Anne Walmsley, "Stanley Greaves" (interview), Bomb, Issue 86, 1 January 2004.
  19. ^ Eliane Mackintosh, "Review of Art in the Caribbean: An introduction", ARC Magazine, 6 July 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Literature Matters: The Anne Walmsley Collection", UWI Today, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, May 2017.
  21. ^ "Caribbean Artists Movement", Collections, George Padmore Institute Archive Catalogue.
  22. ^ a b "Anne Walmsley to receive Bocas Swanzy Award", Repeating Islands, 21 March 2018.
  23. ^ "The biggest literary event in Anglophone Caribbean in T&T", Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 24 March 2018.