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Two Montserrtian writers launched their new book at the Alliouagana Festival of the Word

Professor Sir Howard Fergus launched his new book “Poems From Behind God Back” on Friday, November, 11, 2011 at the third annual Alliouagana Festival of the Word opening Ceremony at the Montserrat Cultural Centre in Little Bay.

Professor, Sir Howard Fergus is widely published in the fields of history, education, poetry and literary criticism. His works include History of Education in the British Leeward Islands (2003), Montserrat: History of a Caribbean Colony (1994, 2004), and some six books of Poetry – Lara Rains and Colonial Rites (1998), Volcano Song: Poems of an Island in Agony (2000), Volcano Verses (2003), Christmas Festival (2007), I Believe (2008) and Death in the Family (2008). While being Dr. Fergus he was winner of the Caribbean Writer Prize (1992) and the David Hough Literary Prize for an author residing in the Caribbean (2002). Commenting on I Believe, a literary critic observes: “Sir Howard epitomizes the archetypal sage as he shares his lessons learned in life and his spiritual heritage with the reader.”

Poet and Principal of the St. Augustine Primary School Miss. Ann Marie Dewar in a brilliant review of this new book, told the audience “Behind God Back’ is one of Sir Howard’s best.  She said the book was one which is well worth reading. “It is a most interesting collection of poems, always witty, sometimes very funny, usually ripe with innuendo, and sometimes breathtakingly powerful in its imagery and word painting.   Very importantly, each poem contributes to the author’s passion and calling as a life observer and historian,” she announced.

Miss Dewar said the poems are divided into sections which she found to be useful, especially as it enables the reader to consider the poems through themes and to make helpful links.

“It starts off with the title section “Behind God Back” which nicely sets the overall stage for this work.  Life is viewed through the consciousness of the Long Ground community, which in reality, actually gives a good snapshot of the Montserrat community, although it did not usually receive this acknowledgement, largely because of its geographical location “behind God back”.  Of course, the author quickly puts this notion to bed,” she said.

She notes that the author did not cloak Long Ground in flattery, as she continued to thrill of her own findings and feelings on the book.  “He recognizes that his little village had its challenges and in presenting these, he employs a flowing stream of metaphors and symbolism which flavours the pot, and is well within the reach of the ordinary reader.   Here is the richness of village life, with its “studyation culture”, where people ‘trow wud’ at each other, where bad word bishops held sway, and where long grass birthed many a rumour.   My imagination was so stretched by the colour, tone, rhythm and pace of these pieces, that I, who never lived there, wish I could have had a glimpse of the real Long Ground, whether behind God’s back or not.  Through Sir Howard’s well-honed style of writing,  and both the descriptiveness and economy of his language, we share the feelings of Long Ground folk about the loss of their village and way of life, and the hope that new blessings will come to replace the ones.”

The Principal touched on Sir Howards Christian  beliefs and practise, described the author as a “professing and shameless Christian, who is proud to belong to a “Hallelujah Gang”. She said there were a number of poems in the book which celebrate his belief in the reality of Jesus, and in the power of the Word of God in all of life’s battles.

“This volume of poetry will, on merit, stand the test of time and the scrutiny of literary criticism at the highest level, long after the hatchet has been buried in the debate over the location of Long Ground relative to God,” she said.

The second book on the launch program is titled “Ill Concepts of the Caribbean Woman” by Miss. Jo-Anna Richards.

Jo-Annah Richards was born in Montserrat and is now located in the UK. Jo-Annah has written poetry, prose, songs and speeches from a young age. At the age of ten she was published in an anthology of poetry called ‘Out of the Mouth of Babes’ in her homeland of Montserrat. Jo-Annah has a LLB Law degree and currently works in the private sector for a financial institution.

The Ill Concepts of The Caribbean Woman openly speaks about the taboos of Caribbean women that usually go unmentioned. These issues are so unspoken that many women have become isolated and consequently lose themselves.

During the evenings proceedings, there was a brief price giving ceremony for winners of the St. Patricks Creative Writing Competitions. Miss. Gracelyn Cassell told the audience they received over 20 entries from persons in Montserrat and persons overseas. Mrs. Laura Taylor Scotland was the first place winner, second place when to Mrs Pat Ryan and Mrs Clover Lee was the third place winner. Mrs Zelma White poem entitled “No information” sharing received honourable.

Africana Fashions entertained the audience with two segment of their Batik and Tie-Dye fashion show, while Dance Excel entertained the audience with an energetic dance.

Following the book launch event, Soca Music Explosion with Scrappy and the Volcanic Vybz Band led by Joseph ‘Pops’ Morris, entertained to the close.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Professor Sir Howard Fergus launched his new book “Poems From Behind God Back” on Friday, November, 11, 2011 at the third annual Alliouagana Festival of the Word opening Ceremony at the Montserrat Cultural Centre in Little Bay.

Professor, Sir Howard Fergus is widely published in the fields of history, education, poetry and literary criticism. His works include History of Education in the British Leeward Islands (2003), Montserrat: History of a Caribbean Colony (1994, 2004), and some six books of Poetry – Lara Rains and Colonial Rites (1998), Volcano Song: Poems of an Island in Agony (2000), Volcano Verses (2003), Christmas Festival (2007), I Believe (2008) and Death in the Family (2008). While being Dr. Fergus he was winner of the Caribbean Writer Prize (1992) and the David Hough Literary Prize for an author residing in the Caribbean (2002). Commenting on I Believe, a literary critic observes: “Sir Howard epitomizes the archetypal sage as he shares his lessons learned in life and his spiritual heritage with the reader.”

Poet and Principal of the St. Augustine Primary School Miss. Ann Marie Dewar in a brilliant review of this new book, told the audience “Behind God Back’ is one of Sir Howard’s best.  She said the book was one which is well worth reading. “It is a most interesting collection of poems, always witty, sometimes very funny, usually ripe with innuendo, and sometimes breathtakingly powerful in its imagery and word painting.   Very importantly, each poem contributes to the author’s passion and calling as a life observer and historian,” she announced.

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Miss Dewar said the poems are divided into sections which she found to be useful, especially as it enables the reader to consider the poems through themes and to make helpful links.

“It starts off with the title section “Behind God Back” which nicely sets the overall stage for this work.  Life is viewed through the consciousness of the Long Ground community, which in reality, actually gives a good snapshot of the Montserrat community, although it did not usually receive this acknowledgement, largely because of its geographical location “behind God back”.  Of course, the author quickly puts this notion to bed,” she said.

She notes that the author did not cloak Long Ground in flattery, as she continued to thrill of her own findings and feelings on the book.  “He recognizes that his little village had its challenges and in presenting these, he employs a flowing stream of metaphors and symbolism which flavours the pot, and is well within the reach of the ordinary reader.   Here is the richness of village life, with its “studyation culture”, where people ‘trow wud’ at each other, where bad word bishops held sway, and where long grass birthed many a rumour.   My imagination was so stretched by the colour, tone, rhythm and pace of these pieces, that I, who never lived there, wish I could have had a glimpse of the real Long Ground, whether behind God’s back or not.  Through Sir Howard’s well-honed style of writing,  and both the descriptiveness and economy of his language, we share the feelings of Long Ground folk about the loss of their village and way of life, and the hope that new blessings will come to replace the ones.”

The Principal touched on Sir Howards Christian  beliefs and practise, described the author as a “professing and shameless Christian, who is proud to belong to a “Hallelujah Gang”. She said there were a number of poems in the book which celebrate his belief in the reality of Jesus, and in the power of the Word of God in all of life’s battles.

“This volume of poetry will, on merit, stand the test of time and the scrutiny of literary criticism at the highest level, long after the hatchet has been buried in the debate over the location of Long Ground relative to God,” she said.

The second book on the launch program is titled “Ill Concepts of the Caribbean Woman” by Miss. Jo-Anna Richards.

Jo-Annah Richards was born in Montserrat and is now located in the UK. Jo-Annah has written poetry, prose, songs and speeches from a young age. At the age of ten she was published in an anthology of poetry called ‘Out of the Mouth of Babes’ in her homeland of Montserrat. Jo-Annah has a LLB Law degree and currently works in the private sector for a financial institution.

The Ill Concepts of The Caribbean Woman openly speaks about the taboos of Caribbean women that usually go unmentioned. These issues are so unspoken that many women have become isolated and consequently lose themselves.

During the evenings proceedings, there was a brief price giving ceremony for winners of the St. Patricks Creative Writing Competitions. Miss. Gracelyn Cassell told the audience they received over 20 entries from persons in Montserrat and persons overseas. Mrs. Laura Taylor Scotland was the first place winner, second place when to Mrs Pat Ryan and Mrs Clover Lee was the third place winner. Mrs Zelma White poem entitled “No information” sharing received honourable.

Africana Fashions entertained the audience with two segment of their Batik and Tie-Dye fashion show, while Dance Excel entertained the audience with an energetic dance.

Following the book launch event, Soca Music Explosion with Scrappy and the Volcanic Vybz Band led by Joseph ‘Pops’ Morris, entertained to the close.