Barbadian author, Wilmont St Cyr, otherwise known as W St Cyr, has taken the literary world by storm with his sensational internationally reviewed book, Fields of Death, which was published in November 2015 and received a NIFCA Literary Award in 2016.
Fields of Death, which has been featured on LIAT airlines, may soon be heading to bookstores overseas.
St Cyr told Barbados Today that he was the only Barbadian recently interviewed on WDVRFM’s World of Work, a popular educational programme in the United States that features authors from all over the world. He’s now having discussions to have his book in stores in the United States and Canada.
“I am dealing with the success of Fields of Death in my own personal way. I am satisfied that the book has been recognized. I am satisfied that the book is being read and I have now become an award-winning author.”
Despite his success, St Cyr has not had an easy time with his literary career. He told Barbados TODAY that he had no prior literary knowledge while writing Fields of Death, which was penned while he served a more than eight year sentence at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds for gun possession charges.
Since his imprisonment, he is set on changing his life around and becoming a positive role model in the society. He has completed online courses at the University of East Anglia in Fiction including Introduction to Screenwriting and Script to Screenwriting. St. Cyr said he wanted to further his education as he left The St Leonard’s School at the age of 14 without certification.
Fields of Death is a fictional book based on the unsolved canefield murder cases that happened in Barbados. “ My reason for writing the book is because it is a story that needed to be told. Maybe 100 years will pass and it will become a dark folklore. I think that it is a voice for the victims,” St Cyr said, adding that he also drew inspiration from an article in Nation News archives entitled Case Not Closed about the canefield murders. In Fields of Death, the detective X Man fictionally attempts to solve these hideous crimes just like the real-life detective Mark Thompson.
St Cyr explained why he did not investigate the canefield murders on a case-by-case basis.
“ The art of writing fiction is really going into the recesses of your imagination and I decided to write this story from the core of my imagination to depict these crimes. But actually carrying out research on a case-to-case basis, I did not do that. I did not want to be (too involved) with the cases as I still wanted the story to be fictional,” he said.
He said there were two highlights of his literary career: the first was having his book featured on LIAT; the second was winning the 2016 Literary Arts Award at the National Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
“ The [LIAT opportunity] came about through Chattel House Books – many thanks to them for uploading my books in the early stages and I was asked to feature my book on the airlines. The NIFCA award was a surprise to me because when I first wrote the book, I didn’t think it would be accepted on the literary scene… because as far as fiction is concerned, these crime fiction books are usually written by American authors such as John Grisham and James Patterson. After developing the art, I decided to step boldly on the literary scene in Barbados with crime fiction. It was something Barbadians did not expect a Barbadian author to write,” he said.
St Cyr is hopeful that in the future, the elements of fiction writing can be included in the school curriculum.
“ I think we should introduce writing fiction and so on in schools as it would allow persons who think outside of the box in their thinking to have an area to venture into,” he said.
He disclosed that his second novel, The Vault, will examine the circumstances and history regarding The Chase Vault and would be officially released in August this year. (LG)