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JIS News

Howard Pitterson has always wanted to do something positive for Jamaica and when a ruptured Achilles tendon short-circuited his dream of becoming the Jamaican version of Russia’s classical ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, he turned to writing instead.
The result is the first of a two-book set titled ‘Spectre of Seven’, depicting life in British colonial Jamaica before the ‘Bob Marley’ era. Booktwo entitled ‘Deadly Embrace’ is in progress.
“I have always wanted to do something positive for my country, to put Jamaica on the literary map, the same way other writers from the Caribbean region have done,” Mr. Pitterson told JIS News during a recent interview.
Mr. Pitterson noted that getting the first of his two books published was not easy. “I can assure you, it’s an achievement and I hope is a contribution to the literary world, even as I celebrate my rich racial roots – Black, East Indian and English, my family and my country during that most interesting period,” he says.
Born into a sugarcane planting family Mr. Pitterson attributes many of the cherished memories of his childhood to the days spent on the plantation. At age 18, upon graduating from Excelsior High School, he headed to the University of Montreal, Canada to continue his studies.
With a Bachelor’s Degree under his belt, he wasted no time pursuing a career in the marvelous world of classical ballet before a severe foot injury forced an abrupt change in careers.
It was during this period of change and adjustment from dancer to computer programmer/analyst, that Mr. Pitterson wrote ‘Spectre of Seven’, his dynamic and highly literary labour of love. ‘Spectre of Seven’ is an epic that chronicles the lives of five generations of a prominent Jamaican family of the sugarcane plantocracy, concentrating on the period 1915-1945.
Set against the towering Blue Mountains of British colonial Jamaica with its idyllic beaches and lagoons, the reader immediately embarks on a grand voyage. Central in the vast spectrum of events that the traveller experiences, are vitriolic sibling rivalry, romance, political strife and encounter with the paranormal.
According to Felix Thijssen, Professor of English in the Canadian high school system who was among the first to preview the book, “Each chapter becomes a vignette, enriching the ones that have gone before and the ones that are yet to come, skillfully adding social and historical layers as the story moves on.”
The drama is played out against the backdrop of the multi-racial composition of the island and particularly during the time of the expatriation of the East Indians to Jamaica, the impact of World War II on the island colony, the influence of an American presence there at the time, a romance with the golden age of the cinema and the love affair between Edward the Eighth and Mrs.Wallis Simpson.
Spectre of Seven, however is foremost the tale of Julius, scion of the McFarlane family and his troubled relationship with himself and his sceptre – Grandfield Estate and his seven spectres. Howard Pitterson has been the recipient of several poetry awards and practices Raj Yoga. He now lives between New York city and Hollywood, Florida, where he pursues his two passions – writing and ballet.