AFAR chatted with local bookstore owner and cultural ambassador Kristin White on Bermuda pride, the island's emerging art scene, and yes, her favorite beach.
AFAR: What’s it like to grow up in Bermuda?
WHITE: “It’s a very unique experience. There are fewer than 65,000 people in the world who can say they’re Bermudian. Because it’s a small island, we’re all very much connected with each other. We’re all trying to make it together on this rock in the middle of nowhere, doing what we need to do.”
AFAR: Where do you live?
WHITE: “I’ve been living in St. George’s, a historic town in Bermuda’s East End, for 14 years now. I fell in love with the charm, the history, and all the little winding alleys and shops. A few years back, my husband and I purchased a bookstore that was closing down. Now we’re turning it into a gift store and bookshop named Long Story Short. Being in St. George as both a business owner and resident, I became passionate about helping other people see the town, so I started offering tours. I lead Haunted History, a street performance and walking tour that tells the stories of the town’s famous residents from centuries ago.”
AFAR: What’s the art scene like in St. George’s?
WHITE: “We have the East End Art District, where many artists and artisans have combination studios and galleries. You can go in and watch them at work and buy a painting or blown glass or a piece of jewelry. I love Davidrose, a jewelry shop run by a husband-and-wife team. Art is thriving and vibrant here in the East End—and you get more of a personal, one-on-one experience than you would at the larger galleries in Hamilton, the capital.”
AFAR: What themes have you seen pop up in Bermuda’s literature in recent years?
WHITE: “In the last two decades, we’ve seen more poetry and prose that’s inspired by the Bermudian experience and culture. Young artists such as poet Yesha Townsend are really coming into their own, talking about more complex subjects, from what it means to be gay growing up in Bermuda to the Bermudian accent.”
AFAR: Tell us more about the Bermudian accent.
WHITE: “It’s a melting pot of an accent, and that’s why I love it so much. Historically, though, it’s been considered a lazy accent, and Bermudians are taught to neutralize it. You feel like you have to wipe your island off your tongue in order to get a job and be successful. Now tourism and online groups celebrate the accent—tourists want you to talk about it—but we still can’t really use it in daily public life.”
AFAR: What’s your favorite Bermuda excursion?
WHITE: “I love riding my bicycle over to St. David’s, an island connected to St. George’s via a short bridge. The island is home to Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve, where you can hike and forage for wild spinach and prickly pears, and where there’s an insane number of beaches—I like Clearwater Beach, which has a wicked bar. Bermuda is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I never take that for granted.”