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date: 20 February 2020

Mittelhölzer, Edgar Austin locked

  • Nicholas Rinehart


(1909–1965), Guyanese writer, was widely recognized as the first professional novelist to emerge from the Anglophone Caribbean. Mittelhölzer was born 16 December 1909 in New Amsterdam, Berbice in present-day Guyana—then British Guiana—to William Austin Mittelhölzer, a merchant firm clerk and then accountant, and Rosamond Leblanc Mittelhölzer, a homemaker who sold pastries to keep the family financially afloat. His father, whom he would later describe as a “confirmed Negrophobe” in his memoir A Swarthy Boy (1963), claimed Swiss-German ancestry. Mittelhölzer was raised among the urban middle class, attending Berbice High School and resolving to become a professional writer in his teenage years. He began submitting short stories to numerous British periodicals in the 1920s, almost completely without success. Having never attended university, he worked odd jobs to support himself while pursuing a career as a writer. The Daily Chronicle a local newspaper published his first story in ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.

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