Review sponsored* by Guanima Press Ltd
The Children’s Book Review | November 7, 2017
Written by Patricia Glinton-Meicholas
Age Range: 14 and up
ebook: 108 pages
Publisher: Guanima Press Ltd (2017)
What to expect: Folk Tales, the Bahamas
This engrossing collection of fascinating Bahamian folk tales is full of magic and whimsy, giving readers a peek into this unique island’s culture.
In the brief introduction, author Patricia Glinton-Meicholas tells of her childhood on Cat Island in the Bahamas, and the rich tradition of oral storytelling. This leads to a dissection and clarification of the different types of oral stories, the parts of those stories, and the various themes and traditions found in those stories. This is very helpful as it allows readers to put the stories into context – it’s like being back in literature class but in the best way. The author’s explanations help ground the exceptional stories for those not raised in the oral story tradition of the Bahamas.
The stories themselves range from raging devils and ghosts to whimsical talking animals and vengeful spirits. Several stories are morality tales about hard work and honesty. Like many a beloved Grimm Fairy Tale, some of the stories are dark and full of unexpected twists. One such tale is called JACK AND THE SCHOOLMASTER, where a clever boy ferrets out the Devil. Another fairy-tale type story is the THE GIRL ON THE GALLOWS, which tells of a beautiful young woman who collides with a jealous princess, and only the talking birds can help reunite her with her princely true love.
Glinton-Meicholas is an excellent writer whose lively words make each folk tale seem as if it were being read aloud. The narration is sparse and clear, and if there is any confusion, she includes helpful footnotes at the end of each story.
This would be a fantastic addition to a high school comparative literature curriculum. Not only are the stories delightfully well told, but the historical context of a less well-known culture would be a boon to any literature student’s repertoire.
About the Author
Bahamian-born Patricia Glinton-Meicholas is a poet, author, culture critic, and researcher in Bahamian art, culture and history. She was the first winner of the Bahamas Cacique Award for Writing (1995) and recipient of a Silver Jubilee of Independence Medal for Literature (1998). Her poetry collection, “Chasing Light”, was a finalist in the 2012 International Proverse Prize Competition, and was published by Proverse, Hong Kong (2013). In 2015 The School of English Studies of the University of The Bahamas presented her with a lifetime achievement award for contributions to culture and literature. In 2016, at the institution’s Charter Day ceremony, she presented her poem, “All Hail Our University”.
Most recently Patricia has contributed essays to the 34-volume Grove Dictionary of Art (1996); eight biographies to the Oxford University Press Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (2016), and a chapter in Routledge’s Companion to International Children’s Literature (September 2017).
Among Patricia’s earliest publications is her story, “The Gaulin Wife”, which appeared in Under the Storyteller’s Spell (Penguin 1988, ed. Faustin Charles).
To 2017 she had authored 19 books, including Bahamian Art 1492 to 1992, the first comprehensive work on the subject (with Smith & Huggins); An Evening in Guanima, short stories based on Bahamian folktale motifs; the novel A Shift in the Light and Robin’s Song, a book of poems for children (Guanima Press). The latter three are studied in the nation’s schools. Her newest work is Lusca and Other Fantastic Tales, a collection of original short stories based on Bahamian myths and legends (Oct. 2017). Her poetry has appeared in Yinna, WomanSpeak, tongues of the ocean, Beyond Borders and Poui.
Patricia’s monograph on Bahamian folktales appears in the Encuentros series of the InterAmerican Development Bank Cultural Centre, Washington, DC (No. 38, July 2000).
Glinton-Meicholas was the first woman to deliver the Sir Lynden Pindling Memorial Lecture (2005). In 2008, by invitation, she presented in a plenary session of “Heritage, Legacy and Leadership: Ideas and Interventions”, organized by the Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage at City Hall, London, United Kingdom.
In September 2017 she delivered the keynote address at the first convocation of the University of The Bahamas. She also delivered the College of The Bahamas (now University) Commencement Address in 2012, and was privileged to present the Keva M Bethel Distinguished Lecture in 2013.
In 2015 the Saint Louis Art Museum invited her to pay tribute to the revered American poet Maya Angelou.
She has written and directed several documentaries: among them six historical productions for Bahamas National Trust and two on the Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas.
Patricia was founding president of Bahamas Association for Cultural Studies (BACUS), Vice President of Creative Nassau, an NGO which secured for Nassau, The Bahamas capital, the designation of ‘Creative City of Crafts & Folk Arts in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. She co-hosts the Creative Nassau weekly radio show on 102.9 FM.
Education: University of Miami, MSc. Ed; University of The West Indies, B.A. (Hons.), Foreign Languages (French and Spanish, minor German).
For more information, visit: https://www.guanimacreative.com/
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