On Tuesday the 13th October, to mark Black History Month, Kerry Young, local author, was a special guest at the WEA, 101 Hinckley Road.
Kerry was born in Kingston, Jamaica to a Chinese father and a mother of mixed Chinese African heritage, and moved to England at the age of 10. Her first novel, Pao, was shortlisted for the costa first novel award and the commonwealth book prize she lives in Leicestershire.
She read from her award winning book ‘Gloria’ and its’ prequel ‘Pao’, both published by Bloomsbury. The books are novels, which, in telling the story of the central characters, give us insights into Jamaican politics and the reasons and experience of Chinese migration to Jamaica. They are set in the period from 1938 – 1960.
The author captivated her audience with reading excerpts from the books for 20 minutes in a Jamaican accent/dialect. There was opportunity to ask her about the inspiration behind her books and find out if she would be writing any more. To everyone’s delight a new book will be published in May.
Her account of her upbringing in Jamaica really resonated with several members of the audience who could also relate to discussions about the characters and experiences in the books. Signed copies of Gloria and Pao were also available for sale after the reading. The audience mingled with the author over some light refreshments and feedback was gushing: “that was really enriching” and “totally fascinating – I knew nothing about the mixed Jamaican and Chinese communities”.
Here’s a short excerpt from Gloria:
‘I grab a piece of wood and I hit him. And I hit him. And I hit him. And all I can hear is the dull thud like when yu bash open a ripe watermelon and the juice splashed all over yu. And then I hear Marcia screaming as she trying to get out from under him. She shoving him off her but my arm is still moving because all I am thinking about is how he done it to me; and how his hands so rough everywhere he holding me down and how the coir mattress stick me in the back……
.’……When Henry Wong hear what happen he jump in a buggy and come to East Kingston. When I reach him at the door he walk straight past me and go inside like he own the place.
“What this you do?”
learn more about Kerry at www.kerryyoung.co.uk
Some pics from the event: