JIS News

Jamaica’s cultural icon, Hon. Louise Bennett Coverley (Miss Lou), is the focus this week of two new programmes on Jamaica’s literary arts, which will be aired in the United Kingdom on BBC radio 4 this week.The first, a three part series entitled ‘Island Voices’ by poet and writer, Valerie Bloom, explores why Jamaica has produced more than its fair share of highly acclaimed poets.
According to Miss Bloom, alongside its music, poetry is one of Jamaica’s great achievements and most dynamic exports.
In the first part of the series, Miss Bloom visits Jamaica and is re-united with her family. She explores her personal development as a writer, growing up in the rural centre of the island, and introduces her audience to the voices that influenced her.
A release about the series said the programme looks at the warmth, immediacy and poetic possibilities of the Jamaican language and also looks at what it termed its troubled history.
“Until recently, it wasn’t considered poetic to write in anything but standard English. Louise Bennett is the pivotal figure that changed the linguistic landscape forever. Now in her eighties and still writing, she tells us what provoked her to become a champion for the mother tongue at the age of 14,” the release said.
Island Voices also features renowned poets, Jean Binta Breeze, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Lorna Goodison, Mervyn Morris, Eddie Baugh and Mutabaruka.
On September 9, a half hour programme titled Miss Lou at RADA by playwright, producer and actress Yvonne Brewster, will be aired. In this programme, Miss Brewster traces Miss Lou’s career. Miss Lou was the first black female student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in 1945.