Ahkim Alexis grew up in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, a place facing acute impacts of climate change. He is a curious and passionate writer by nature, and his firsthand experience with rising seas, eroding beaches, torrential downpours, and dwindling fresh water has become every bit as important to his stories as his heritage.
Both of those things shape “The Lexicographer and One Tree Island,” a finalist in Fix’s annual Imagine 2200 climate-fiction short story contest. The tale marked something of a diversion for Alexis, as it is both hopeful and steeped in the culture of his homeland — something he concedes he’s failed to convey in past work. Upon hearing of the contest, he reflected on the ways he’s seen climate change shape his homeland and decided to craft a narrative about hope that celebrates his native language. “Writers shouldn’t run away from their own culture,” he says. Rather, he says, they should embrace it and intertwine pieces of themselves in their writing to make it come alive.
“It’s very, very hard to exhibit one’s culture when you’re not speaking to or from it,” he says.
The lexicogr... Read more