Atlanta Jamaicans are mourning the passing of Anthony C. Winkler, one of Jamaica’s most gifted and successful writers. He died peacefully at his home in Dunwoody, Georgia on September 18, 2015. He is survived by his wife Cathy, daughter Becky, son Adam and his wife of three weeks, Amy. He was 73.
In 2014 Winkler was awarded the Townsend Prize, a biennial literary award recognizing the achievement of Georgia fiction writers. He was also a recipient of Jamaica’s Musgrave Medal for his achievements in Literature receiving the gold medal in 2014 and silver in 2004.
His most recent novels include The Family Mansion and God Carlos both of which dealt with the European colonization of the island of Jamaica.
Two of his novels have been made into movies: The Annihilation of Fish, starring James Earl Jones and Lynn Redgrave; and his most famous work, a satirical novel titled, The Lunatic.
Winkler’s first novel was also his favorite. The Painted Canoe took him several years to write and over 10 years to get it published. After many rejections, Kingston Publishers finally published it in 1984. His other novels included, The Duppy, Dog Wars, Crocodile and The Great Yacht Race.
His non-fiction books included, Bob Marley: My son, written with Cedella Marley Booker, Bob Marley’s mother; Trust the Darkness: My Life as a Writer; and Going Home to Teach, an autobiographical account of his experiences during the turbulent 70’s at a school in the rural Jamaican town of Moneague.
He wrote two plays: The Burglar and The Hippopotamus Card.
Although he is better known for his novels, Winkler made his living writing college textbooks which included, Grammar Talk, Writing Talk, A Brief Introduction to Speech,Readings for Writers, Writing the Research Paper and Reading, Writing and the Humanities.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Winkler attended schools in Kingston (Excelsior) and Montego Bay (Cornwall College and Mt. Alvernia Academy) and left Jamaica when he was 21 to pursue a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English.
Winkler will be missed by the Jamaican community in Atlanta where he resided since 1978. He served as president of the Atlanta Jamaican Association for two terms during which he coordinated hurricane Gilbert relief efforts, scholarship programs and brought plays from Jamaica.