Local writers/storytellers Patricia Cuff and Zarah Henry Radcliffe, headlined the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) ‘Read Across Jamaica Day’ activity held on Tuesday, May 7, at the Eltham Park Primary School in St. Catherine.
They regaled the students with readings of their stories contained in the soon to be released anthology: ‘A Different Hurricane and Other Jamaican Stories,’ produced by the JIS, and published in collaboration with the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) School Savers’ Programme.
Mrs. Cuff, who is a retired Senior Director of the Jamaica Library Service (JIS), had the students in stitches with her amusing tale entitled: ‘Swiney Pork and the Mystic Gyrations.’ The story tells of musician Swiney the pig, who, while performing on stage, discovered that he had a scorpion in his shoe.
Meanwhile, the achievements of Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt, provide the inspiration for ‘Tallawah and Her Son Named Lightning,’ written by Mrs. Henry Radcliffe, who is also a teacher at the school.
The day’s activities also included readings of the work and philosophies of National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, by JIS Librarian, Marsha-Gay Robinson.
Principal of the school, Noel Perkins, said the focus on Marcus Garvey was appropriate in light of the Ministry of Education’s thrust to include his teachings in schools as part of the new civics curriculum.
“Not many people know about Marcus Garvey and what he stands for, so by teaching the kids about him, this information will filter down to their parents who, in turn, will reinforce the need to learn his teachings and follow his principles of self-reliance,” Mr. Perkins stated.
The Principal also welcomed the JIS’ presentation of a range of heritage material for the school’s library.
“We welcome the learning material, which we will put to good use as we seek to increase further, the literacy level at the school from the current 64 per cent, coming from 49 per cent four years ago,” Mr. Perkins informed.
The anthology was produced by the JIS as part of efforts to keep the art of storytelling at the forefront of artistic expression and to provide an avenue for articulation of the vivid imagination and artistic prowess of Jamaican writers.
Other contributors to the anthology include Nicole Williams and Vinola Bailey Waysome, who are teachers at the Waterford High School in St. Catherine. The book’s illustrations were done by student of the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts, Kerecia Bell.
Contact: George Jude