Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 30th 2017 Contents PAULA LINDO
Laughter and camaraderie
were the hallmarks of the T&T
launch of Side by Side We Stand,
the third novel in the Savanoy
Series by Nathalie Taghaboni.
Queen Macoomeh, as she is
known on her social media networks,
is a Trinidad-born writer living in
[Macomere is a Trinidadian Cre-
ole word for a close woman friend;
macco is a nosy person or a gossip.]
The launch took place on April 23
at the Big Black Box, Murray Street,
The convivial atmosphere gave
the impression that everyone pres-
ent knew each other. Many did in
some way, having met on the au-
thor's Facebook page as "studients"
of Commess University, Taghaboni's
self-publishing company and vir-
tual space for interaction with her
friends, fans and family.
The readings from the trilogy
of books---Across from Lapey-
rouse, Santimanitay and Side by
Side We Stand---brought laughter,
tears, raised eyebrows and nods of
recognition from the audience as
they listened to Sharon Boodoos-
ingh, Yvonne Bobb-Smith and T&T
Guardian Features Editor Franka
Philip bring the characters to life.
Publicist and writer Ian Royer
thanked Taghaboni for writing the
books, which he said filled a void
for him in terms of seeing the T&T
he knew on the pages of Caribbean
Taghaboni said being a writer
called to mind the words of US sports
columnist Walter Wellesley "Red"
Smith: "Writing is easy; all you have
to do is open a vein and bleed."
"You are turned inside out.
Everything is exposed and painful,
especially when you write this type
of true-to-life fiction that makes
"I wanted to write a book I would
want to read. I had read a lot of
Caribbean authors but I didn't see
enough of me in the pages. I didn't
hear my accent, I didn't see my
mas---and I am a mas baby. Someone
told me that mas was a character by
itself in the books.
"We are folks too; what about our
drama, our love, our music and our
culture? It is easy to write us, once
you pay attention, and I don't think
we should be writing anybody else;
nobody else writes about us, so we
have to do it."
Her advice to young creatives was
to keep creating.
"Don't let anybody tell you no,
because a lot of people told me no.
Publishers I approached told me it
would never sell, the accent is too
strong, it's a niche market, it was too
out there, it was not enough of their
formula that they use, etc."
There are no neat plots in the
book, she said.
"No one wakes up beautiful in the
morning, there is death of surprising
characters because people die, and if
I'm going to write real fiction, there's
going to be pain in it, because that's
how life is.
"I think I've dealt with almost
every problem that T&T has. There
is illness, incest, death, jealousy,
drugs and the fact that [though
people are in your] family doesn't
mean they're your friends.
"The things in the books are things
we have all dealt with at some time
or the other, there is nothing in the
books that are unbelievable."
The author said that, while she
did not plan to write any more books
in the Savanoy series, all her future
work would have a common thread.
"The Savanoys are as real as any
characters could be, and I think they
came off the pages and people have
said they've spotted the characters
walking down the road or in the
The manuscript she's working on
right now, Dark Night and Lace, in-
corporates the traditional characters
and folklore of T&T.
"This is a dark book I've start-
ed about our spirits and things
that go bump in the night, like the
[individual masquerader Tracey
Sankar-Charleau's 2015 portrayal
of] La Diablesse, inspired by Erzu-
lie, which evoked something for me.
"I'm going to scare myself in this
book, because I'm going to go there
in the dark, and if it's one thing our
culture has, it's our characters in the
dark and I intend to pull them out
and see if I can't shed some light on
Sunday, April 30, 2017 guardian.co.tt
sunday arts B39
Nathalie Taghaboni, right, author of the new novel Side by Side We Stand, at the book's T&T launch with 2016
Forward Prize-winning poet Vahni Capildeo. The launch took place April 23 at the Big Black Box, Port-of-Spain.
PHOTO COURTESY ERROL JOHN
The cover of Nathalie Taghaboni's new novel Side by Side We Stand.
Links Archive April 29th 2017 May 1st 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page