As a child, Carmen Barclay Subryan lived beside the beautiful Demerara River at Retrieve, Mackenzie, where the roots of her mother’s ancestors, the Allicocks, run deep into the history of the region. She attended Christianburg Scots School, where she later taught, Mackenzie High School, and Guyana Teachers College. In 1968, she immigrated to the USA to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. There she received a B.A magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, an M.A., and in 1983, a Ph.D. degree, all in English. In 1974, she began teaching at Howard University, retiring in 2015 after 41 years there. She is the mother of two daughters and grandmother to two grandsons and one granddaughter.
Always interested in her roots, Carmen has penned three novels, Black–Water Women, Black–Water People, and Black–Water Children, based loosely on the Allicock family history. She has also authored three books of poetry, Reprise, Rachel’s Tears, and Sketches: People–Watching in the U S of A. In 2016, she published a book of short stories entitled Realities: Stories from our Times. In addition, she has written three booklets about the Linden area: “The Story of Christianburg”, “The Story of Wismar” and “The Story of Mackenzie”. In May 2017, on her return from a six and a half month stay in Guyana, she began writing Stepping on Cracks: Reflections on my Homeland. After having her DNA analyzed in 2018, she began writing Finding My Roots and Other Stories , a series of ten short stories that she completed in 2019.
An avid reader, Carmen is focusing on developing a love of reading in children and to this end she distributed copies of her book Black–Water People to high school students in the Linden area.