JIS News

Jamaican author, Beverley East, will do a reading and signing of her well-received novel ‘Reaper of Souls’ in Florida next Wednesday (June 4).
The event, slated for the Broward Community College in Pembroke Pines, is under the patronage of the Jamaica Consulate General in Miami in conjunction with the Broward Library Divisions. The reading is the start of a series of activities by the Broward Library Divisions to observe Caribbean Heritage Month, which is celebrated in June throughout the United States.
‘Reaper of Souls,’ while a work of fiction, tells the story of one of Jamaica’s worst tragedies, the 1957 Kendal train crash, which occurred in the parish of Manchester. The train was on its way back to Kingston from a church excursion in Montego Bay. Some 250 persons died in the accident, including 14 of the author’s relatives.
In the 235-page novel, Ms. East uses her personal loss to fashion characters, who struggle to find meaning and purpose in the depths of a national despair. The novel, in telling the story of the crash, is also one of survival, triumph and adventure. Included is a collection of photographs of Ms. East’s family members, who died in the crash, including her paternal grandparents, and newspaper clippings of the accident site.
Ms. East, who migrated to England with her parents at age four, recalls meeting her grandparents and sharing brief family moments with them.
She said that while she found no survivors of the accident in her research for the book, a number of persons came forward after completion of the story.
Published by Great House Publications in Kingston, ‘Reaper of Souls’ was launched in Jamaica last September at the 50th anniversary of the Kendal crash, and has already received offers for a movie production.
Ms. East also participated in last weekend’s Calabash International Literary Festival in St. Elizabeth, and is expected to continue her book promotion at the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Washington, D.C., later in June, before moving on to other locations.
Ms. East is also author of the bestseller ‘Finding Mr. Write’, published in 2001, which provides a new slant on selecting the perfect mate.
In addition to her writing, Ms. East is owner and president of Strokes and Slants, a company specializing in forensic document examination and graphology, which is located in Washington, D.C. She is said to be the only woman in the world to specialize in both areas of handwriting analysis.
Her background expands in areas of recruitment, training and management consultancy. She also conducts skills assessment workshops for young professionals and teaches introductory courses in handwriting analysis in the United States and Europe. An important thrust of her work, Ms. East has indicated, is to help individuals identify their personal and professional potential.