Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 19th 2013 Contents B29
May 19, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
On May 25, Paper Based Bookshop will
present the third in its 2013 Tea and Read-
ings series, held in the shop s lobby at
The Normandie, St Ann s.
Three fiction writers (Hugh Blanc, Bev-
erley-Ann Scott and Barbara Jenkins) and
two poets (Raymond Ramcharitar and
James Christopher Aboud) will present
selections from their work.
Published this year by Peepal Tree Press,
T&T Guardian columnist Ramcharitar s
new work, Here, is described as "a book-
length autobiographical poem in five
parts" on the Peepal Tree Press Web site.
His previous publications include Breaking
the News, Media & Culture in Trinidad
(2005); American Fall (2007); and The
Island Quintet (2009).
Aboud s Lagahoo Poems was published
in 2003 by Peepal Tree Press. His first
collection of poems, The Stone Rose, was
released in 1986. In the Caribbean Review
of Books, Nicholas Laughlin describes the
writing in Lagahoo Poems as "dark, sharp-
edged fragments of what seems like a lost
creation myth," adding that the work as
a whole is "thrilling."
Beverley-Ann Scott is the author of
The Stolen Cascadura, published in 2007
by AuthorHouse, as well as the 2012 novel
Is America She Gone?, also released by
AuthorHouse. The Stolen Cascadura was
Nalis choice for its 2012 One Book One
Hugh Blanc s debut novel, Between
Bodies Lie, was published in 2012 by
AuthorHouse. In a starred feature from
Kirkus Reviews, the novel is described as
"a masterfully written exploration of the
beauty and cruelty of love, as sharp as it
At this year s NGC Bocas Lit Fest, both
Blanc and Scott were featured on a panel
discussion, highlighting the best self-
published Trinidadian fiction of the past
Barbara Jenkins first collection of fic-
tion, Sic Transit Wagon, was published
this year by Peepal Tree Press. The work
was reviewed by BC Pires for the Sunday
Arts Section, where he described it as
being "a powerful, positive and beautifully
written debut." Jenkins was the recipient
of the inaugural Hollick Arvon Caribbean
Writers Prize, awarded at the NGC Bocas
Lit Fest this year.
In many ways The Morville Hours: The
Story of a Garden, by Katherine Swift, is one
of the most beautiful and one of the most
surprising books I have ever read. It is the
perfect book club book, yet it s not exactly a
book that would make most readers stand up
and take notice at first. That s because the
book s title is a vast understatement of what
this book is really about.
The story of how Swift convinced the
National Trust (owners of Morville Hall) to
allow her to create a garden is a fascinating
one of persuasion and creativity. Swift arrived
at Morville Hall in 1988 to create her mas-
terpiece. She had won the right to do so by
crafting, with nothing but words, an image
of the garden she would create. With no formal
report, no pictures or illustrations, she simply
spun the story of a garden that would do
justice to Morville Hall.
Swift, a rare book dealer, knows the power
of words and she uses them to paint many
vivid images of gardens, people and the land-
scape around her in The Morville Hours. The
garden is merely a metaphor for life: the chang-
ing seasons and the parade of history that
captures the bigger picture of Great Britain
as well as Morville House itself.
As Swift sets about constructing her garden
and describing the fruit, trees and plants in
all their splendour, she also inadvertently ends
up excavating the grand past of Morville Hall.
Exposing a shard of pottery or an old ceramic
tile, she uncovers the layers of history that
define the hall, and the garden becomes a tap-
estry of the past.
The author reconstructs the monastic past
of the house and conjures up images of wor-
shipping monks and the books they painstak-
ingly created and filled with iconic illustrations.
(Andrea Wulf wrote in the UK Guardian review
of the book: "In an allusion to the monastic
past of the house and grounds, Swift takes
her structure from the hours of the divine
office---the daily rhythm of worship followed
by monks, starting with Vigils (celebrated in
the night) and ending with Compline (at the
close of the day before the community retires
Like a medieval Book of Hours, The Morville
Hours guides the reader through
the days and seasons in Swift s
From the ice age to the present,
Swift chips away at history as her
garden blooms and grows. In
between she weaves her own story
with the garden symbolising a life
enriched by books.
The Morville Hours unfolds like a
flower, slowly and exquisitely. If you re
looking for a book driven by plot, this
would not be it. Still, there are many
surprises---including Swift s light-
hearted description of gardening itself.
Each season brings new images and
new beauty, and the garden is often
seen from the perspective of the open
door in the house.
Swift juxtaposes the images of the
garden with erudite information about
ancient rare books and reminds us all of
the power of words, and in so doing
reminds readers of the relationship
between pictures and words throughout
It is indeed unfortunate that The Morville
Hours, a rare work of literary art, carries the
tag line of "The Story of a Garden." It really
does not do this book justice.
Join us in the Sunday Arts Section s SAS
Book Club group on Facebook to talk about
what you re reading, your book club and the
book that surprised you the most.
Jenkins to read
at Paper Based
A book that unfolds
An ambitious musical theatre production will
get a financial boost this week when the German
Embassy hosts a cocktail reception to raise funds
for the project.
Jab Molassie, a T&T-set adaptation of The
Soldier s Tale by Russian composer Igor Stravin-
sky, has so far been three years in the making.
One week of workshops for the cast and their
understudies was conducted in January and two
further weeks of workshops are set to begin on
Renowned jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles and
T&T pan player Mia Gormandy will take part in
the workshop and the final production, which
involves 33 actors, musicians and other contrib-
Rapso performers Wendell Manwarren and
Roger Roberts and poet/singer Muhammad
Muwakil are among the cast. Noble Douglas is
the choreographer. London-based Trinidadian
Dominique Le Gendre is the musical director
and T&T-based US musician Caitlyn Kamminga
is the main writer.
The production, which sets the story of one
man s disastrous deal with the devil in the Laven-
tille hills, will premiere in May next year.
First Citizens, the Neal and Massy Foundation
and a private benefactor are providing most of
the funding for the production.
Kamminga is a musician and lecturer with the
University of T&T, and the embassy has been a
supporter of the university s free classical concert
series at Napa.
German Ambassador Stefan Schlüter made "a
generous offer" to help the production, said artis-
tic director Maria Nunes.
"This event is to help us raise the final bit of
funds that we need, because we were almost
home," said Nunes.
The reception will be hosted by the ambassador
at his official residence in Ellerslie Park from 6
pm on May 21. Organisers are asking for a min-
imum donation of $500 from each attendee.
Each donor will be invited to an open rehearsal
of the production at the Little Carib Theatre on
The Calabash Foundation for the Arts, which
is steering the project, is organising another
fund-raising event at a private residence on June
6 at which attendees will meet the directors and
the cast. The price of attendance will be $500
Info: 722-2985 or e-mail
Tickets cost $75. Bookings can be
made at Paper Based, 10 am--6 pm,
Monday--Friday; and 10 am--4 pm on
Info and bookings: 625-3197
German Embassy helps
musical theatre project
Jazz musician Etienne Charles will take part in
Jab Molassie. PHOTO COURTESY MARIA
NUNES/CALABASH FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS
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