Join Robert and Linda, the editors of ArtsEtc, as they offer personal takes and twists on culture in Barbados and beyond... Stage Right, Stage Left continues a journey started seven years ago in ArtsEtc: The Premier Cultural Guide to Barbados, their groundbreaking print newsletter. Follow the rest of the adventure online at www.artsetcbarbados.com.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ArtsEtc’s First Annual Independence Reading List Now Out

Read any good Barbadian books lately?

At the launch of Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo last year at Ocean Spray Apartments, a woman Linda and I were chatting with was interested in reading more books by local authors. She was middle-aged and felt she had, as a Bajan, been missing out on what her own writers had to say to her about the world in which we live.

To paraphrase Mavis Gallant, I take it for granted that to talk of Barbadian stories is to talk of stories in a specific context. This woman’s understanding of the need to read stories by writers of her own country suggested, encouragingly, that I wasn’t alone in this thinking.

Her only problem: Where to start?

She required a list; she didn’t know what was available apart from a title or two by Lamming or Callender. And Linda and I were sure there were many others like her, whether Bajan or simply interested in Barbadian literature.

That got us thinking and working.

For this Independence, in collaboration with the University Bookshop, Days Books, the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment, Barbados Today, the National Library Service, and the Barbados Association of Reading, ArtsEtc has come up with 12 Great Books Every Independent Barbadian Should Read, which we’ve run as an ad in Barbados Today and The Barbados Advocate.

Do check it out. It’s obviously not meant to be comprehensive or exhaustive, or academically correct, but it is, we hope, a pleasantly surprising start.

Let us know how you find the books, or what selections you would make for future lists. We intend to do this every year for Barbados’ Independence until the shelves run dry. And, given the activity in Barbadian literature the last decade, and what was produced the previous century, we’re not expecting that to happen anytime soon.

Born free, you say? Then be free.

Read your writers. Enjoy your Independence.

—Robert Edison Sandiford

November 29, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

October Tea Reading—nicely brewed!

THERE was such a great vibe at Pelican Village on Saturday.

Writers Ink held its October Tea Reading there at the Barbados Arts Council gallery and you really do get a warm, fuzzy glow surrounded by all that art on the walls and the shared passion for writing. The gallery is proving an ideal space and the fast growing turnout means Writers Ink is going to need more chairs.

Featured readers Christine Barrow and Robert Edison Sandiford really delivered. What was noteworthy is that the former is a writing student of the latter and they both dealt with some dark and difficult themes: Christine entering the mind of a child for one of her pieces about death and loss, and Sandiford examining the moment of death or dying from a number of angles and also sharing some of his erotic prose. Both presented their work with a Samurai’s touch—a huge reward for any audience unafraid of being challenged.

For open mic, many people walked with their 5 lines (or more) on Bridgetown. Among them, Loretta Hackett, Sarah Venable, Ann Hewitt, Susan Mahon and Theo Williams who shared some fine words not to mention unexpected and unique perspectives on our capital city.

A team from Eye on the Arts was there to capture it all, so keep an eye out! And— to steal a line from the Bajan Reporter (we missed you Ian!)—all of Barbados is invited to the next Tea Reading when the open mic theme(s) will be “The Sea, Food, Love.” Plenty of room in which to brew some Independence spirit!

• The Tea Readings are staged by Writers Ink the last Saturday of every month.—LMD

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wor(l)dbuilding at Barbados’ AnimeKon 2011

Fans of AnimeKon are very serious about their science fiction. This dude with the huge and heavy sword is based on the character "Cloud" from the animated feature/video game Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children.

From left: Robert Sandiford, Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell shared their experiences of creating Fantasy in a Caribbean setting with a large audience and moderator Andre Harewood (extreme right) at AnimeKon 2011.

Shiver me timbers! Cosplay (short for costume play) was a major part of AnimeKon 2011 held July 2 & 3 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Barbados. In this pause at a videogame booth, here's a young girl who's obviously a fan of Johnny Depp & Pirates Of The Caribbean.

JUST coming down from AnimeKon 2011, Barbados’ comic book, animation, gaming, multi-media…well, it’s a so-much-of-everything kind of convention, and the only pop culture convention in the region, that to sum it up seems a little unfair.

Many thanks to Omar Kennedy and Melissa Young for keeping the two-day event tight, and for inviting me onto a panel to discuss speculative fiction from a Caribbean perspective with US-based Tobias S. Buckell (Crystal Rain) and Barbados’ own fantasy author Karen Lord (Redemption in Indigo).

The tag lines are merely for identification purposes. I’m probably known as a realist or true-to life writer who has made some forays into comic-book flavoured storytelling (I like the notion of alternate realities) as well as graphic novels (Great Moves), but what we discussed—and what the people in the audience wanted to know—was how to create convincing worlds and characters, how to write beautiful and believable stories.

Regardless the genre, we all agreed the process is pretty much the same. Tobias is wonderful at worldbuilding (with many references to the Caribbean of his youth!); Crystal Rain contains maps that help situate the reader in his story.

A fantasy-sci-fi thing? Not quite. A creative writing student of mine, currently producing linked stories about very everyday Caribbean people (with, perhaps, a tinge of the magical—we can’t seem to get away from it in our fiction), has mapped out the community her characters inhabit, undiscovered country and all.

Karen’s Redemption in Indigo is based loosely on a Senegalese folktale. She essentially starts with the known world, as I often do, then goes about uncovering what lies beneath it and above it and in-between to enchanting and disturbing effect.

The thing with writing is to remain open to discovery, especially that of your characters, and not get lost in your own inventions. As one audience member semi-joked, “It’s not the number of ideas I get that’s the problem, it’s knowing which ones are worth pursuing and which ones are simply junk.”

- Robert Edison Sandiford
July 4

Robert Edison Sandiford is a co-founding editor of ArtsEtc.
(Photos courtesy Ian D. Bourne /The Bajan Reporter)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yvonne Weekes - Green Reader, bridging worlds

Yvonne's poem doubles as her Green Statement, doubles as a prayer...


If the life-giving gullies of Barbados were to run blood

And Broad Street sank under the weight of sanguine waters

And there was no Bop or Baygon to blow up

either the mosquito or fill our lungs

- Fool: everyone knows a mosquito has no lungs

Would we then regret the casual discard

of plastic lipstick butts into empty cane fields?

Would we finally regard the butterflied lizards

children targeted in a game of Cowboys and Indians?

Would we remember the soft petals of the flamboyant trees

picked naked for vain pleasures?

Would we recount the flying fish fleeing our acid waters

recycle the soda pop bottles full of deadly dyes

raise our eyes to skies dropping in on us

and remember to pray for a world

of clean-running waters

pure coral reefs and fish

that look like our grandmother’s memories?

Copyright © 2011 by Yvonne Weekes

About the Author

Yvonne Weekes is an actress, writer/director, teacher, and currently the Theatre Arts Coordinator at Barbados Community College. Winner of the Frank Collymore Literary Award in 2004 for her memoir, Volcano, her first play, Blue Soap, was published in 2010. Her most recent work, Broken Dolls, aired on CBC in 2011. Yvonne is currently involved in writing and directing community drama pieces for the AIDS Foundation of Barbados, the Ministry of Health and the Barbados Government Information Service that deal with AIDS awareness, stigmatization and discrimination as well as other chronic non-communicable diseases.

Yvonne's appearance at GR11 on Saturday, June 18, bridges the literary and theatrical when she takes to the Folkestone stage with the Barbados Community College theatre group. (Green Readings is a trademark of ArtsEtc.)

Margaret D. Gill - Green Reader...

...The Poem Says It All

The poem extract below is both my green statement and impact statement. In essence, we all got responsibility, but some more than others.

“Across from Victoria Harbour Hong Kong”

Victoria Harbour
So much beauty
And so much blue.

How many dreams
Of a technic tomorrow touch?
So the silver running
Of cool of air co
Or the camera’ s true monstrosity.
Cool images you cell from
Cell to high rise cell.

But I see Sam Sung
Only dimly now.
This gauze
That is not morning
Drapes the edges of
Olympus now.
And I breathe cautiously,
Each breath a filtered prayer
As ships go calmly
Through the blue air.

A ferry coming home,
Expelling and again
uploading tourists.
Each camera saves
That chip of memory.
Visibility 200 yards,

A blue so true,
So true the edges of you certainty

The only mountains now
I know for sure,
For sure, I say,
Are in the art I saw
At Tsim Sha Sui.

There is a sea,
This is an island.
I suppose a necessary
Though awkward beauty
Shaped these blue trees.
Yet I long for Victoria Harbour
Green before Victoria

Today, pollution turned
The sun to silver,
Polythene texture.
Visibility making ghosts
Of ships in the harbour.
Water reflecting chrome,
At night, technicolour.

It was just like
A science fiction movie,
Jane Li said to me
Newspaper op eds say
Sea so sick if someone slipped
They die of the sink in.
Bacteria so thick
Only the slick of oil lives.
Oh Victoria, Victoria!

You not the only sinner,
But ah really have ta tell yah
You was bad fah true

November 2008, Hong Kong

Copyright © 2011 by Margaret Gill

About the Author

Margaret D. Gill is a scholar, critic and published and performance poet who teaches fundamentals of written English at the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill). Kamau Brathwaite describes her as “One of the very finest poets in the Caribbean—and not only in English. Brilliant (and therefore important) a literary critic as any (of the too few) writing out of the Caribbean today.” Twice winner of the Frank Collymore Literary Award (1998, 1st prize, and 2006, 2nd prize), Margaret was International Visiting Writer 2007 at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKB) and one of the two adjudicators of the HKB English Poetry Writing Competition 2007. She is now an Honorary Fellow in Writing by HKB. Her poetry has been anthologized in several works, including Bim, Aftermath: Best of Third-World Poets (1977) and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse (2005). Her works of poetry are Alternative Songs from the Kingdom of the Lilies (1998 Frank Collymore manuscript), Lyric You (Intelek International: Bridgetown, 2000) and Machinations of a Feminist (2006 Frank Collymore manuscript). Margaret’s writing is influenced by the fact that her mother wrote and her father loved poetry and knew large tracts of it by heart, and she received her first award for poetry at 14 years old when she won second prize in the Shankar’s International Children Poetry Competition in India.

Margaret is one of the performers appearing at Green Readings 2011 at Folkestone Park & Marine Reserve on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. Green Readings is a trademark of ArtsEtc.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Allison Cadogan - Green Reader, in pursuit of happiness

Green Statement

An emphasis on the role that the environment plays on attitudes is a common thread throughout my work. Even though “ green” is an environmentalist concept, based on healthy, sustainable practices for physically preserving the earth, I believe that our everyday happiness has roots in our physical surroundings, and I communicate this in all of my work. A healthy environment means a healthy, happy community.

excerpt from How to Skin A Cat In 5 Easy Steps

I was enjoying the warmth on my face, until slender matter eclipsed the sun.

“Hullo,” said she.

I placed my punch in the sand and sat up. There she stood, hands clasped behind her back as though ready to recite poetry, toes wiggling in the white-gold grains beneath her feet.

I lowered my head to peer over the upper rim of my tinted panes.

And thus the sky became extra blue, the sea superlatively turquoise and that epileptic, radial pattern on her dress promised me a seizure.

“Hullo?” I said quizzically.

“Hullo,” said she of smiling face and muddled accent. She was pretty, with piercing blue eyes and reddish blonde hair, about four feet tall. Why does she stand before me? I wished she would state her case quickly before the crabs sidled off with my libation.

“This shall be the winter of our contentment.” She looked over my shoulder as she spoke, the same way bad actors look into the camera when delivering their lines.

Copyright © 2011 by Allison Cadogan

About the author

Allison Cadogan is a Barbadian writer and the 2010 recipient of the Frank Collymore Literary Award (2nd place) for her novella The Three Little Pigs. She is the creative director at G&A Communications Inc., and she teaches Creative Writing part-time in the Fine Arts Division of Barbados Community College.

Allison appears at the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve on Saturday, June 18 as part of ArtsEtc and the Ministry of the Environment's Green Readings 2011.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Martina Pilé - Green Reader, Calabash Woman

Artist's Statement

This event definitely gives me a chance to step out of my comfort zone but still talk about calabashes, the things we use in our everyday life that represent our cultural identity. My love for calabashes is something that is tightly intertwined with my Caribbean experience... Every year, I catch "calabash fever" which translates in an urge to work with them.

About the artist

MARTINA Zahles Pilé is a Caribbean visual artist and ceramicist of Luxembourgian origin. She has lived and worked as a full-time artist in Barbados since 1982, and has her studio in Prospect, St James. She uses many 2D & 3D media as a means to explore the myths and legends of the three main cultures that influenced life in the Caribbean. She served as event coordinator for the Artistsclub from 2005-2010 and was the managing director and curator of Island Art Gallery in Speightstown from 2010-2011. MZPilé is the recipient of many art awards and a member of the Barbados Arts Council.

Martina's appearance at the Boardwalk, Hastings, on Saturday, June 11, will be the first ever visual "green reading" in the four-year history of the event.

Adrian...Green Reader, Green Giant

Adrian Green - Artist's Statement:

The artist goes green not only championing environmental causes and sustainable practices, but by producing work intended to stimulate his audience to sustainable modes of thought, attitudes and values.

excerpt from “We the Dirt”

We are the dirt
Divine earth
We are the trampled upon
Sampled and drawn from the direction of the dawn
To build empires on which the sun was never supposed to set
We were never supposed to get
Only be gotten
Sons and daughters forgotten by heaven
We are the dirt
That covered the floors of hell
And protected the demons’ feet from the heat
Of their own sins
We are the dirt that they could not wash from their skins
We are the mud they rolled in
To wash and rinse
Left to dry
We are the dirt that still carries the stain they left behind

Copyright © 2011 by Adrian Green

About the artist

ADRIAN Green is a poet who bridges the divide between written poetry and performance poetry. His poetry engages the listener on multiple levels. His style of delivery is passionate and flowing, yet purposeful and structured. He is a Gold Award winner in Barbados’ National Festival of Creative Arts, a three-time Barbadian Slam Poetry Champion and two-time winner of the Emancipation Roots Experience Show. Green represented Barbados at Carifesta X in Guyana and has performed to audiences in several countries, including the USA, Ghana, Grenada, St Vincent, Nevis, St Thomas and the British Virgin Islands. He has released two albums of poetry, Random Acts of Conscience and Hard Ears. He is one of the originators of Tuk Poetry and performs with the band Rawt Iron.

He performs at the Hastings Rocks edition of Green Readings 2011 on Saturday, June 11, from 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Winston Farrell: Green Reader, Earth Spirit

Artist's Green Statement

"Green is not only my favourite colour -- it also represents a coded consciousness of my environment...my world. This is a relationship that started with a visit to Canada back in the early 90s, when I was introduced to the idea of recycling, the concept of conservation and the need to take greater care of our planet. It further inspired my second album of dub poetry, S."

excerpt from “Death of King Sugar”

The final chapter in the saga of king sugar
stirs the worth of the teaspoon
the wrist in the turning stops
the hand behind the wheel loses its heart

At the old factory
sunlight leaks in through the rotting roof
the old boiler rusted by bitter sweet tears
years weather wood
arteries bust
pipes now empty
a wreck of dead metal
scattered skeletons pitted by
centuries of blood stain limestone
sediments of grease on the icon’ s teeth

the monster still gloats

On the cane fields
a new type of bat and ball
lashes across the trash-heaps
men hopping over dry wells
leaving their testicles hanging on golf clubs
whilst labourers sit on their swords and jackhammers
jerking wet dreams out of their swollen eyes
bad boys stalk the streets more than ever
gun butts searching for the sweet jar
break the lock on the labourer’ s daughter
steal her diamond seed

Crystals in the teacup, wet bank notes
coin a new dance with silver spoons
lumps disguised as gold
melt on the tongue of a fading king [....]

Copyright © 2011 by Winston Farrell

Artist's Bio

WINSTON Farrell works as the cultural arts officer at the Barbados Youth Service. He is a graduate of the University of Leeds with a Masters in Theatre and Development Studies. A theatre practitioner and creative writer, Farrell has over thirty years of experience within the Barbadian cultural landscape. He has toured extensively as an actor and performance poet, and has distinguished himself as a trained theatre for development facilitator specializing in community and popular theatre methodology.

Ras Farrell’s latest work, Looking Back at Sodom, is currently being staged as an HIV/AIDS community initiative.

He performs at the Boardwalk, Hastings, this Saturday, June 11, for Green Readings 2011.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Green Readings 2011...Just lighting up our corner of the world

Sometimes, as an artist, it can be easy to get bogged down in what we do. Forgetting why we do what we do. Those reasons can be myriad and complex, but for those of us inspired by our environment (and all it embraces) and try to impact positively upon it through art, it can be good to take a deep examining breath.

That's why this year, ArtsEtc has chosen the theme: "Light up your corner of the world" for its Green Readings 2011 and again invited six dynamic Barbados artists -- Allison Cadogan, Winston Farrell,
Margaret Gill, Adrian Green, Martina Pilé, and Yvonne Weekes -- to share how they do it, or would like to do it.

The annual event, which is staged in conjunction with the Ministry of the Environment, is now in its fourth year. It takes place over two weekends each June for Environment Month, and has, in previous years, showcased literary and other performance to help promote a different kind of environmental awareness.

This year, the readings take place on Saturday, June 11 on the Boardwalk, Hastings Rocks (directly behind KFC Hastings); and Saturday, June 18 at the Folkestone Marine Reserve). Showtime for both is 3:30 p.m.

Each Green Reading will, for the first time, have a Boardwalk Talk: a Q&A and open mic segment during which the audience gets to respond with questions, comments or a brief reading of their own.

Green Readings has proved popular with audiences, who enjoy the relaxed, scenic setting, provocative readings and refreshments afterwards courtesy of Chef Creig Greenidge.

For more information on this and other Green Readings, or to take part in Boardwalk Talk, please visit ArtsEtc on Facebook or email artsetc@sunbeach.net. And feel free to leave a comment here or on Facebook telling us how you light up your corner with what you do.

Top: GR11 performers (clockwise from top): Margaret Gill, Adrian Green, Yvonne Weekes, Martina Pilé, Winston Farrell, Allison Cadogan.

• The Hastings Rocks Green Reading last year.

• Members of the Grantley Prescod Memorial Primary School choir who performed at Green Readings, Hastings Rocks in 2009. The choir will be present at the Folkestone reading this year.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Frank Birbalsingh's review of Thomas Armstrong's Of Water and Rock

Thomas Armstrong, Of Water and Rock, Montreal, DC Books, 2010, pp.330. ISBN 978-1-897190-60-9. / Reviewer: Frank Birbalsingh, Indo-Caribbean World (2011)

Whatever his attraction to Barbados, it seems strange that a bright, sun-filled Caribbean island should provide the setting for distinctly Gothic undertones in Armstrong’s story of a young Canadian, Edward Hamblin who, without any previous knowledge of Barbados, arrives alone on the island in 1969 to assume a legacy bequeathed to him by his father’s aunt Sarah. For one thing, Edward had never met his great aunt who lived and died in Barbados. For another, he knows just as little about his father who was born in Barbados but had left home when he [Edward] was very young. All Edward knows, from his black Bajan lawyer Chesterfield Cumberbatch, is that he has inherited Hamblin Hall cottage in Barbados.

The novel opens with Cumberbatch meeting Edward at the airport and taking him to Hamblin Hall cottage. It is an eye-opener to meet neighbours such as Sissy Brathwaite, an old woman desperately struggling to survive in her own house and land, his servant Undine who had previously worked for Sarah, and Richard Clermont, alias Doc, who starts life as a brilliant scholar only to decline into an eccentric, best known for his prophetic pose in talking to trees or searching for black coral in caves. Edward also meets white neighbours – the Collymores – James and his two grown-up daughters Judith and Mary, and from these brief encounters realises how different a society he has come to: one that until 1966 was a British colony most of whose history consisted of white-owned sugar plantations maintained by the labour of African slaves. This is why the Bajan population is divided between mainly African-descended Blacks and a small number of Whites, with some mixed blood people of African/European stock. Sissy, Undine, Doc and a professional like Cumberbatch are from one side of Bajan history with the Collymores on the other.

As Edward gropes his way through this unfamiliar culture, conditioned by one of the most grievous examples in all history of man’s inhumanity to man, Gothic elements emerge from his puzzlement at evasive answers to questions that he asks his neighbours, awareness of secrets in their past, and growing suspicion of dark, sinister and mysterious dealings on their island paradoxically regarded as a holiday paradise of sun, blue sea and white sand. The paradox reminds us of Jean Rhys’s comparison of the Caribbean island in her classic novel Wide Sargasso Sea to the Biblical Garden of Eden corrupted by abuse from primal human sin. Sissy’s nephew RJ catches the spirit of Rhys’s comment when he tells Edward: “People like Auntie [Sissy] learn tuh take abuse and say nuthin. An people like dem Collymores ain’t change ever since... Dey tink dat because dey white, dey better den we. Dey abuse our women an nobody ain’t ever held tuh account.” (p.134) RJ puts his finger on the primal Bajan and Caribbean sin of slavery and its legacy of abusive relationships between white master and black slave.

This legacy of racial abuse is built into the very structure of Bajan society with its clear contrast between a largely black working class and white families like the Collymores. At a typical white soiree, for instance, held at the Collymores, Edward meets the family of Rupert Weatherby the British High Commissioner to Barbados, and observes the difference between his own Canadian views and the racist attitudes of both his hosts and their visitors. Worse still, in a later scene where Sissy sells sugar cakes at her market stall, Mary Collymore chaperones a white child Liliane who accepts a sugar cake generously offered by Sissy, but Mary rudely knocks the sugar cake out of Liliane’s hand and angrily rebukes Sissy: “How dare you? ... You dirty woman. Who knows where your hands have been?” (p.126) Mary also turns on Liliane: “don’t ever take anything from these people.” (p.126) It is a climactic scene whose full significance cannot be explained here without giving away the denouement of the novel.

Suffice to say that the denouement of Of Water and Rock relies on the curse of race in Bajan history and a suspenseful story of Edward’s long search and discovery of his great aunt’s lost diary in which answers are revealed to questions about his father, the Collymores, Sissy and Barbados. In structure alone, Armstrong deserves great credit for technical expertise, rare in a first novel, which plunges his narrator boldly into an exotic voyage of discovery, through stage by suspenseful stage, and brings him through to the end where older characters like Sissy Brathwaite and James Collymore are dead, all passion is spent, old sores tended if not healed, and a much chastened Edward looks forward to a joint future living with Judith Collymore.

As someone who is Bajan neither by birth nor upbringing, Armstrong should also be given extra credit for catching the verve and vibrancy of Bajan speech. RJ’s comment above, for instance, could not convey the true horror of Bajan history without its combination of simple, direct expression, raw idiom, or lilting rhythm and intonation. There is similar rawness and physical directness in Doc’s response to schoolboy taunts: “Uh gin tuh pelt wunnuh wit dis here rockstone, yuh black savages,” (p.115) and it registers a uniquely Caribbean style of expression which fully captures what Derek Walcott describes as “the passion and wrong” of Caribbean history.


Of Water and Rock: The launch, Tuesday March 8 at the University

ArtsEtc will be hosting the Barbados launch of Thomas Armstrong’s award-winning novel, Of Water and Rock.

The launch is part of a busy 2011 season for ArtsEtc which sees it hosting Green Readings for the fourth consecutive year (stay tuned for more news of that), and pursuing a range of independent publishing and creative projects.

We are particularly proud and excited to be associated with Thomas Armstrong and the launch of his debut novel which has been provoking passionate reviews and response since its May 2010 publication by DC Books in Montreal.

(Click here to read what Philip Nanton had to say about it in the Caribbean Review of Books; and here to read in full Frank Birbalsingh’s review in Indo-Caribbean World.)

Of Water and Rock – which was shortlisted for Barbados’ Frank Collymore Endowment Award (2nd Place), and won the George Lamming Prize (NIFCA 2010) – offers a wondrous, humorous look at Torontonian Edward Hamblin’s first trip to Barbados. It’s just after Independence, and Edward has come to reclaim his Bajan roots: his Great Aunt Sarah’s cottage at Hamblin Hall. Soon an odd fit among an endearing group in the adjoining village, he literally unearths a secret about his family’s heritage that will rock the foundations of his beliefs and those of his newfound friends on the island. Armstrong’s ear for the cadences of the heart and the rhythms of a people lend understated grace and authenticity to a novel of powerful feeling and true redemption.

About the author:

Canadian Thomas Armstrong visited Barbados for the first time in 1979 and fell in love with more than the island. From the very first, the island and its people impressed upon him a sense of time and place that was both wondrous and sad. Married to a Barbadian in 1980, it wasn’t until the passing of his wife’s parents and of his own father that Armstrong began to write. Penning his father’s eulogy ignited an undiscovered passion. He dedicated a short story, “Flying in God’s Face,” later published in Poui, the literary journal of the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill), to his mother-in-law, the matriarchal head of his Barbadian family. It became the seed from which his first novel, Of Water and Rock, would grow. Armstrong is educated in Mathematics and Science, currently makes a living as a software developer, and divides his time between Canada and Barbados. He is still married and has two children and is working on his next novel.

Of Water and Rock will be launched in Barbados on Tuesday, March 8 at the University Bookstore on Cave Hill Campus at 4:30 p.m. Come, meet Tom and talk to him about his writing. We look forward to seeing you there. Dress: elegantly casual; refreshments served. For more information on obtaining copies of the book, please contact the author at thomas.armstrong@sympatico.ca or email artsetc@sunbeach.net – LMD

Of Water and Rock; Thomas Armstrong (DC Books, Montreal 2010) (ISBN 978-1-897190-59-3)