It was a perfect evening for this event, the launch of the Cynthia Wilson’s latest book Listen to the Hills. The winds were cooling, the mosquitoes seemed to have been instructed to stay away and the lighting set the mood. Something major was happening.
Hosted by Monica Drayton-Worrell, wife of Central Bank Governor Dr. DeLisle Worrell at their residence, Newlands, in Pine Gardens, St. Michael, the musical interludes from steel pannist Harry Russell and singer Stephen Brathwaite were just right for the occasion, the company was nice and the excerpts from the book, read by Amanda Cumberbatch and Nailah Imoja, immediately transported you into the scenes Wilson wrote about.
The cadence of their voices saw the words about university life, love, and other scenes leaping off the page and filling the mind with the images the author captured, even if a guest was not from the period Wilson wrote about. It was perhaps the words of the author’s brother and editor of the book Peter Adonijah Alleyne that were most telling and most insightful.
“Editing Listen to the Hills was quite an experience for me even though it was not an autobiography, but a memoir… It was fascinating for me to read about my family because Cynthia is the second of us … and I’m last of the seven, so a lot of things I have never heard. For example, this was the first I had ever read an account of my father’s death and the effect it had on the family.
“I recommend the book highly because it shows more than a slice of life in the ’50s, things with which some of us here would be familiar and the other younger ones would not really come to life in the book. Apart from tracing the life of a most adventurous and most independent woman, the book holds your attention with details about life at UCWI .. and life in Barbados in general and in the Caribbean,” he said.
Jacqui Wiltshire-Gay, who spoke about the author, described her as a “remarkable woman, confidante, mentor, performer, producer, art activist and author” who was deserving of the honours bestowed on her.
Wilson thanked “The Most High for granting me 78 years of life” and for giving her the ability to clothe thoughts in words. She also thanked everyone who helped her along the way and the “ancestors on whose shoulders I stand”.
After copies of the book were presented to patrons of the event, former Governor General Sir Clifford Husbands, Drayton-Worrell and Adonijah among others, and the formalities were over, guests bought copies of the book and had them autographed by Wilson. Listen to the Hills should surely be on your Christmas gift list this year. (DS)