Meditation in Memory of Landeg White

By Jeanne Marie Penvenne for the LASO (Lusophone Africa Studies Organization) Newsletter

Landeg White produced a strikingly diverse and impressive body of work over a lifetime that took him to Trinidad, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Britain, Goa and Portugal. His experiences in all these places cumulatively shaped his capacity to see, listen, understand and interpret. Where does one begin with this complex man and his diverse and impressive legacy? His personal site, opens with a sketch that captures him beautifully. Martin White, Landeg and Alice Costley White’s older son, built the site and maintains it to the present. It includes Landeg’s many books and essays, tributes to his passing, and news of recent and future book launches.

There you will find Hugh Macmillan’s insightful, scholarly reflection on Landeg and his life’s work first published in the Guardian. A greatly enhanced version, to be published in Social Dynamics, deftly captures autobiographical cameos, hidden in plain sight, throughout Landeg’s volumes of poetry. It ends with the closing lines of Landeg’s poem Self-Praises (for my African age-mates) from Living in the Delta: New and collected poems (Parthian, 2015). They should feature in every consideration of Landeg’s legacy:

As a scholar, I set the paradigm: as a poet I found my niche,
Let these praises float from my window, setting fires where
they will.

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Remembering Landeg White, 1940-2017

by Hugh Macmillan for the The Society of Malawi Journal, 71, 1, 2018, pp.46-53

Landeg Ernest White, who died after a short illness at his home at Mafra, near Sintra, Portugal, on 3 December 2017, spent less than three years in Malawi between his arrival in August 1969 to teach at the new university and his deportation from the country in May 1972. It is safe to say, however, that this period was decisive for him, both personally and intellectually, and that he had an infinitely greater impact on the country than most short-term expatriates.

Landeg White was born at Taff’s Well, near Cardiff, Wales, on 20 June 1940, the day of the fall of France. He was the son of the Reverend Reginald White (1914-2003), known professionally as R.E.O. White, a Baptist minister who eventually became principal of the Scottish Baptist College. His father was a prolific author who is well known in the USA for his popular religious texts. Landeg’s mother, Gwyneth Landeg (1914-2016), was a Welsh-speaker from a coal-mining and trade union background whose father had won a gold medal for singing at the Eisteddfod. She had worked in a Dr Barnardo’s Home in London, helping to receive Jewish child refugees before the outbreak of the Second World War. Landeg’s unusual first name was his mother’s maiden name and his younger sister’s name, Glenda, was an anagram of it. The family moved around with his father’s work and Landeg attended schools on the Wirral in Cheshire, Rutherglen Academy in Scotland, and the Birkenhead Institute. He went on to do two degrees in English Literature at Liverpool University – writing a book-length MA dissertation on the hymns of Isaac Watts. He went on to take a post as a lecturer in English literature at the Trinidad campus of the University of the West Indies in 1964.

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Landeg White obituary

By Hugh Macmillan from the The Guardian.

My friend and former colleague Landeg White, who has died at his home in Portugal aged 77, was an academic and poet, one of the most versatile and prolific of the Africanists who began work in the post-independence era.

He was born in Taff’s Well, near Cardiff, the son of Reginald White, known as REO White, who became principal of the Scottish Baptist College, and Gwyneth (nee Landeg). After schooling at Rutherglen Academy in Lanarkshire and Birkenhead Institute on the Wirral, Landeg graduated in English from Liverpool University then began work teaching English literature at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad, in 1964. A product of his time there was his critical introduction to the work of VS Naipaul (1975).

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The Global Poet

By Jugneeta Sudan from the The Navhind Times, December 2016.

In the cool confines of a room on the upper storey of Fundacao Oriente, I met Landeg White. A citizen of the world, he has taught in three continents and turned out a prodigious number of books of prose and poetry. He is in Goa presently to talk to audiences about his work and preoccupations of the last 50 years. Here are some excerpts from our conversation…More

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