In her latest publication “Reaper of Souls – a novel based on the 1957 Kendal Crash,” Jamaican author, Beverley East has used personal tragedy to fashion characters who struggle to find meaning and purpose in the depths of national despair.
The 235-page fiction is the story of one of Jamaica’s worst tragedy, the Kendal crash which occurred in the parish of Manchester, 51 years ago (September 1, 1957) where some 250 persons died.
Under the patronage of the Jamaica Consulate General in Miami in conjunction with the Broward Library Divisions, Ms. East will do a book reading and signing next Wednesday (June 4) at 6:30 p.m. at the South Regional branch on the Broward Community College campus at 7200 Pines Boulevard in Pembroke Pines.
This event is the start of a series of activities hosted by the Broward Library Divisions observing Caribbean Heritage Month celebrated in June throughout the United States.
Ms. East is also author of the best seller, “Finding Mr. Write – a new slant on selecting the Perfect Mate,” which was published in 2001. During 2001 and 2002, she completed an extensive book promotion of her first publication throughout cities in the USA and Europe, as well as in Jamaica.
‘Reaper of Souls,’ although not morbid, is a recreation of the disaster, where she used fictional characters to tell a story of survival, triumph and adventure. During her research, Ms. East explained that she found no survivors of the accident. But they all came forward after completion of the story, she added.
The Kendal disaster has a personal touch for Ms. East as she lost her paternal grandparents and 14 other family members in the crash. They were on a Catholic church excursion from Montego Bay to Kingston at that time. Throughout the story, photographs depict the event, scenes of Jamaica’s countryside and identify family members.
Ms. East explained that she has little recollection of her paternal grandparents as she migrated to London with her parents, at the early age of four years old. She recalls meeting them and sharing brief family moments with them.
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.
She recently participated at the annual Calabash International Literary Festival held last week 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 owner and president of Strokes and Slants, a company specializing in forensic document examination and graphology located in Washington, D.C. This specialized technique has earned her the title of 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, she indicated, is to help individuals identify their personal and professional potential.