Caribbean queer: new meetings of place and the possible in Shani Mootoo's 'Valmiki's Daughter'

Alison Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Valmiki’s Daughter, published in 2008 by the Trinidadian, Canadian-resident writer Shani Mootoo, issues an impressive challenge to current understandings of sexual norms and lives in the Anglophone Caribbean. In the face of repeated assumptions of impossibility around nonheteronormative lives, this article argues that Mootoo’s novel catches a Caribbean queerness that maps a new meeting point between place and the possible. By rendering the commonplace sexual pluralism of Trinidad, Valmiki’s Daughter gives representation to a locally sensitive yet socially subversive repertoire that undoes “straight” and “gay” in its queer realities. As a postcolonial writer, Mootoo’s imaginative focus is also set beyond individual fulfillment as the ideal of sexual liberation, and the novel examines the ethical possibilities for living together, as well as for living fully.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-232
Number of pages20
JournalContemporary Women's Writing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

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