Patrick Chamoiseau was born in 1953 in Fort de France, Martinique where he still lives. He is the author of a historical work on the Antilles under Bonaparte and two non-fiction works. His novels are Chronique des sept miseres (1986), Solibo le magnifique (1988), Texaco (which won the Prix Goncourt in 1992), and most recently, Les Neuf Consciences du malfini (2009). He has also published a volume of Caribbean folk tales. ‘The Rat’ (Granta 59) is taken from his memoir, Childhood (Gallimard, Paris, 1994). Carol Volk’s English translation was published by the University of Nebraska Press in the US and Granta Books in the UK. Texaco, Strange Words, School days and Solibo Magnificent are all available from Granta Books.