Gone to Drift

Diana McCaulay
Publication date: February 2016
ISBN: 9780993108617
Price: £7.99

Gone to Drift by the award-winning Jamaican author Diana McCaulay was published on lucky 29 February (a leap of dolphins perhaps). This is Diana’s first Young Adult novel, which was placed second in the 2015 Burt Prize for Caribbean Literature.

Truth? Respect? Survival? Gone to Drift tells the story of Lloyd, a 12-year-old Jamaican boy and his search for his beloved grandfather, Maas Conrad, a fisherman who is lost at sea. Lloyd suspects that his grandfather has witnessed an illegal capture of dolphins for the tourist trade and that he has been hurt, perhaps even killed. No one wants to help Lloyd except for an uptown girl who studies dolphins, his best friend Dwight and a mad man called Slowly on a sun-baked beach.

Interspersed with Lloyd’s quest on land and sea is a second voice – of Maas Conrad himself, who, unknown to Lloyd is alive but marooned on a rock. In this exciting adventure story Lloyd discovers that the enemies of his grandfather – and of the Caribbean Sea that he loves – are closer to home than he could ever imagine.

“This is my first novel for young adults,” says McCaulay, “and as reading meant so much to me as a teenager, I’m hoping Gone to Drift will be read and enjoyed by many Caribbean young people. I wanted to pay tribute to our long tradition of fishermen, and I’m so grateful the Burt Award has made that possible. I’m also thrilled that Gone to Drift is published by Papillote Press, a Caribbean publishing house which I’ve long admired.”

Gone to Drift follows on from McCaulay’s two acclaimed novels, Dog-Heart (2010) and Huracan (2012) and is built on her 2012 Regional Commonwealth prize-winning short story, The Dolphin Catchers (Granta Online).

CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature is an annual award given to English-language literary works for young adults (aged 12 through 18) written by Caribbean authors. Established by CODE – a Canadian NGO that has been supporting literacy and learning for over 55 years – with the generous support of the Literary Prizes Foundation and in partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest, the Award aims to provide engaging and culturally relevant books for young people across the Caribbean.

Founded in 2011, the Bocas Lit Fest administers major literary prizes for Caribbean authors and organises the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s premier literary festival.

Gone to Drift is a Jamaican coming-of-age story: realistic, often funny and deeply touching.”

– Pamela Mordecai

McCaulay’s prose is lyrical. A solemn adventure about resolve, loyalty, and family, that gives readers insight into life in a small fishing community and brings to light the dangers marine life face in the wild.

— School Library Journal

The relationships between boy and elder, man and sea, crime and poverty all lift McCaulay’s first children’s novel into a different league. Beautiful.

— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The heartbreaking realism of this story of innocence lost at sea truly sets this novel apart.

— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

This makes a good choice for adventure fans, the eco-conscious, and those hoping to understand the economic hardships faced by those who make their living from the sea.

— Booklist

a compelling coming-of-age story with a strong sense of place and culture. Readers will almost hear the cries of the seabirds and the chirps of the dolphins leaping across the Caribbean. Just as strong is the depiction of the social challenges the characters face.

– VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocate) magazine