Arrival of the Snake-Woman

The Toronto author’s Jamaican birthplace provides the setting for these powerful and poignant stories that span a period of roughly 150 years, from the closing days of slavery in 1838 to the 1980s.

The tensions wrought by rapid change and conflicting loyalties are at the heart of these stories, most beautifully evoked in the novella “Arrival of the Snake-Woman”. Here a young boy narrates the seminal event of his childhood in the late nineteenth century: the coming of a lonely Indian indentured woman into a mountain village.

Senior’s stories are leavened with wit and humour and the intricate play with language and her characters emerge as triumphant examples of the human spirit unravelling the complex weave of race, class, and cultural and ethnic identity.

Arrival of the Snake-Woman has consolidated (Olive Senior’s) reputation as one of the most accomplished writers of short fiction and as one of the Caribbean’s finest creative minds.”
Caribbean Week

“An exquisitely crafted collection of stories . . . the volume shimmers with rhythm, colour and a deep intelligence that opens a window into the complex world of people colonized by dominant white culture.”


Publication Date: October 2009

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-894770-53-8
Page size: 5.75″ x 8.75″
176 pages

Photo of Olive Senior

Olive Senior is one of Canada’s most internationally recognized and acclaimed writers.  Among her many awards and honours she has won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and F.G. Bressani Literary Prize, was nominated for a Governor-General’s Literary Award, and was runner up for the Casa de Las Americas Prize and the Pat Lowther Award. In 2003, she received the Norman Washington Manley Foundation Award for Excellence (preservation of cultural heritage – Jamaica).  Her body of published work includes four books of poetry, three collections of short stories and several award-winning non-fiction works on Caribbean culture.