Hello, friends! I have been bursting to share the brand new cover of The Protectors’ Pledge — 3rd place winner of the 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature and due for publication by CaribbeanReads Publishing at the end of May 2017. Many thanks to Ryan James and Cherise Harris for the front cover illustration and back cover elements, respectively. Read the official announcement from CaribbeanReads here and follow the link to pre-order your copy 😉
Are we at the stage where we need to watch a person’s story unfold on screen—a big screen enhanced by surround sound, with each moment of drama, angst, hope, fear, and disillusionment perfectly matched with accompanying music and sound effects—before we can see that individual’s humanity and recognise it as equal to our own and deserving of the very same rights, protections, dignity, and aid that we would expect and demand for ourselves, our friends, and families?
Will we be flocking to see a film, years from now, about a family, perhaps like yours or mine, forced to abandon everything that at one point symbolized security and safety, grasp at whatever opportunity for survival is presented, and flee in terror? Will we choke up when its members are separated from each other and are forced to leave loved ones behind? Will we cheer and pump our fists when what’s left of that family defies all odds and boards a plane to safety; and then weep, shocked and aghast, when, upon arriving at the expected safe harbour, they are denied entry and put back on a plane to the very nightmare that, only moments before, they were thanking God that they had escaped?
What do you think? A five star rating? Lots of Oscar nominations?
There are countless stories: those of refugees, green card holders, visitors, and persons on student and work visas. All with lives. All with human rights. Persons like us.
In my last blog post, Finding the Words, I tried to capture and communicate the wonderful experience that was the 2016 Bocas Lit Fest and the honour of being one of this year’s Burt Award winners. It is startling to think that five months have already gone by since I shared those words, but much has happened behind the scenes during that time. For those of you who missed the announcement last month, The Protector’s Pledge is being republished by St. Kitts-based CaribbeanReads Publishing. This means that 1) the original, self-published edition (paperback and Kindle) is no longer available for sale, and 2) I am working with CaribbeanReads on making changes to the book.
Although I was initially sad to see messages like “Sorry. This item is not currently available” and “Out of print” on my baby’s Amazon and other online retail pages, it definitely helped to focus on the bigger picture and remember that those messages exist because another awesome version of The Protector’s Pledge is in the works. In fact, my first set of revisions are currently with CaribbeanReads, and I got word on Thursday that progress is being made on the new cover. Exciting times! As always, thank you for your continued support and interest, and stay tuned for further publishing updates!
This post is going to be a challenge. My heart and mind are full of persons, events, and experiences that inspire words such as gratitude, joy, awe, nostalgia, excitement, and community–merely a few of the terms that spring to mind when I recall the recent week that I spent in Trinidad and Tobago for the extraordinary NGC Bocas Lit Fest.
So where do I begin? Which words do I use to capture how honoured I am to be the 3rd place winner of CODE’s 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature? The glow of pride that started in my stomach and travelled upwards and slightly left, its aura growing and pulsing with each heartbeat, when I read what the jury had to say about The Protector’s Pledge?
“Exciting and fun filled … The tale is emotionally alive with vivid, engaging characters, memorable scenes, full of magic and light … Sprinkled with beautiful prose and descriptions.”
And what about the thrill of listening to Tamika Gibson and Florenz Webbe-Maxwell (first and second place Burt Award winners respectively) share excerpts from their winning titles? Or my elation at seeing Olive Senior receive this year’s OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature?
How best can I explain my immediate sense of family with the 70 other debut authors who were recognised at NALIS’s wonderful Appreciation Programme and the excitement that came with adding our names and book titles to the grand 1st Time Authors tome? Or the familiar warmth of spending much-needed moments, however fleeting, with my Trini loved ones?
Can I hold on to and convey the depth of feeling I experienced while sitting in Holy Trinity Cathedral for a live performance of River of Freedom, listening to what I can only describe as musical magic; the bliss of dancing the night away to soca (better known to my children as “Mummy’s happy music”); and the lovely surprise of seeing and catching up with one of my favourite Vassar professors–the phenomenal Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert?
At what point should I gush about the impromptu visit to my alma mater, St. Joseph’s Convent P.O.S., where each noisy step of my wedged heels brought me back to a still-cherished time when I walked (and sometimes ran) the same hallways in white sneakers and Keds? A visit during which it was impossible to not see my 11-to-18-year-old self in the students who smiled and politely greeted me with “Good morning, Miss” as I toured the school taking pictures with my former Economics teacher, Mr. Mollick.
So, you see? Like I said: quite the challenge. But perhaps a lengthy, detailed post that is full of precise language is not what is needed here. Perhaps I must trust that the words I have used above are the right ones, after all, and that through them you are able to connect with all the gratitude, joy, awe, nostalgia, and excitement that I could barely contain during those eight remarkable days in Port of Spain. Perhaps.
Cilck here to see pictures from the trip.
Thank you to all the women whose sacrifices and struggles have paved the way; to those whose love nurtures, provides strength, and sustains; and to those who, in their own unique fashion, make this life that much better.
Friends in T&T: I‘ll be on CCN TV6’s Morning Edition tomorrow, Tuesday 14th July, to talk about ‘The Protector’s Pledge’. Tune in around 7:15 a.m. if you can… 😉
Exciting news, folks: The Protector’s Pledge is now available in paperback and as an eBook on Amazon! Want to read some of it for free? Umm…yeah you do! Visit the book’s Amazon pages (on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.es, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it…. o.k. you get the picture) and check out the Look Inside feature. (If you do end up reading The Protector’s Pledge, please, please, please consider giving it a rating and writing a review).
Another online purchasing option is my CreateSpace eStore: Createspace.com/4882499
And for all my friends in Trinidad and Tobago: I dropped off copies at Charran’s Book Stores in Trincity Mall yesterday (Tel: 640-3155). Copies will also be available at Charran’s branches in San Juan (675-9023) and Tunapuna (663-1476).