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Kingston Noir (Jamaica)

Edited by:

Following in the Caribbean footsteps of Haiti Noir and Trinidad Noir, now come dark stories from Jamaica’s capital city.

$18.95 $14.21

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Kingston Noir subverts the simplistic sunshine/reggae/spliff-smoking image of Jamaica at almost every turn . . . The collection amply rewards the reader with a rich interplay of geographies and themes.”
The Los Angeles Times

Kingston Noir goes darker and deeper than any before . . . the purest of noir, and the richest depictions of Jamaica.”
The Huffington Post

“Thoroughly well-written stories . . . fans of noir will enjoy this batch of sordid tales set in the sweltering heat of the tropics.”
Publishers Weekly

Kingston Noir is an eclectic and gritty melange of tales that sears the imagination . . . Kingston Noir proves its worth as a quintessential piece of West Indian literature—rich, artistic, timeless, and above all, draped in unmistakable realism.”
The Gleaner (Jamaica)

“Drop your energetically touted ‘best of’ Jamaica brochures and sink your teeth into noir that bites back: the eleven wicked, wild, and unrepentant stories in Kingston Noir feature the talents of eminent voices in Jamaican fiction.”
Caribbean Beat

“Some of these stories are mysterious, some are straightforward, but all are dark. There isn’t a single light-hearted story in the bunch, which falls in line perfectly with the noir theme. Readers beware, there are some stories in this book that address the darkest parts of human nature: rape, torture, murder. It’s not for the faint of heart. However, they are all well-written and tap into the true underbelly of another culture.”

Included as one of the Books that Defined the Decade by Like a Real Book Club (podcast)

“Several of the stories in Kingston Noir succeed brilliantly in reproducing the simultaneously estranging and horrifying effects of urban violence in Jamaica. And there is something appropriately unsettling about the differences between the stories, collected and edited by Colin Channer, such that the sense of being dislodged somewhere puzzlingly dissimilar from the place one began sometimes mimics the feeling of moving through Kingston . . . traversing this collection as if going ‘down the road,’ with all the abrupt stops, shifts, and turns that Jamaicanism implies, does offer a way of connecting, piece by piece, story by story, to fragments of the city tucked away in consciousness and memory. It is a city rarely encountered in fiction; this collection satisfies a need and makes one hungry for more.”
sx salon: a small axe literary platform

“There is much to be admired in this anthology. Technically, the standard is very high throughout, but in several of the stories the writing soars.”
Wasafiri (UK)


Read Colin Channer’s contribution to “My Caribbean – 5 Vignettes,” which appeared in the November 10, 2013 issue of the New York Times.

Read “The White Gyal with the Camera” by Kei Miller and “Tomcat Beretta” by Patricia Powell, originally published in Kingston Noir and featured on Akashic’s website as part of Short Story Month 2013.

An excerpt of the digital edition of Kingston Noir is available for free download through Akashic’s Jamaican Digit.

Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

Brand-new stories by: Marlon James, Kwame Dawes, Patricia Powell, Chris Abani, Marcia Douglas, Leone Ross, Kei Miller, Christopher John Farley, Ian Thomson, Thomas Glave, and Colin Channer.

From the introduction by Colin Channer:

Every story in this collection was written by an author who knows and understands this charismatic, badass city very well. In addition to having this intimate knowledge, the eleven writers share something else—a fascination with the city’s turbulent dynamics, with the way its boundaries of color, class, race, gender, ideology, and sexual privilege crisscross like storm-tangled power lines.

Still, each story is driven by its unique why would or what if . . . why would a man sleep with a woman knowing she has HIV? Why would anyone throw a school girl’s corpse beneath a bus? What if a European photographer takes it on herself to document a neighborhood controlled by gangs? What if an American actress wakes up to find herself gagged and bound in a stranger’s bed?

As I did with Iron Balloons, my first anthology for Akashic, I began with a simple understanding: few writers would be called, and even fewer would be chosen. Because nothing less than a classic would do.

Table of Contents


Part I: Hard Road to Travel
“My Lord” by Kwame Dawes (Portmore)
“The White Gyal with the Camera” Kei Miller (August Town)
“Tomcat Beretta” by Patricia Powell (New Kingston)
“A Grave Undertaking” by Ian Thomson (Downtown Kingston)

Part II: Is This Love?
“Immaculate” by Marlon James (Constant Spring)
“Roll It” by Leone Ross (Mona)
“One-Girl Half Way Tree Concert” by Marcia Douglas (Half Way Tree)
“Leighton Leigh Anne Norbrook” by Thomas Glave (Norbrook)

Part III: Pressure Drop
“54-46 (That’s My Number)” by Christopher John Farley (Trench Town)
“Sunrise” by Chris Abani (Greenwich Town)
“Monkey Man” by Colin Channer (Hughenden)


Book Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Published: 6/12/12
  • IBSN: 9781617750748
  • e-IBSN: 9781617751172


COLIN CHANNER was born in Jamaica to a pharmacist and cop. Junot Díaz calls him “one of the Caribbean Diaspora’s finest writers.” His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Harvard Review, The Common, and Renaissance Noire, among other places. Channer has served as Newhouse Professor in Creative Writing at Wellesley College and Fannie Hurst Writer in Residence at Brandeis University. His many books of prose include the novella The Girl with the Golden Shoes, “a very moving and mesmerizing journey” in the words of Edwidge Danticat. He won the Silver Musgrave Medal in Literature in 2010 and currently lives in New England. Providential is his first poetry book.

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