THE MARRYING KIND: "It's a miracle we're still together," the author jokes of life with hubby Martin, also a writer.
In the second part of our exclusive interview with Pamela Mordecai, at the Bookland, New Kingston launch of her latest poetry collection, Subversive Sonnets, the celebrated author riffs on the appeal of the Jamaican creole, life in Canada, and the success of her first stage play, El Numero Uno.
TALLAWAH: You've published children's books, story collections, poetry anthologies and educational texts. And now your first novel is due out next year. But that's not all. Your first play, El Numero Uno, got its premiere in Canada earlier this year. What did you make of the response it received?
Pamela Mordecai: It was very well-received, perhaps best by the Caribbean community. I enjoyed working on it. It was in development for a long time. I worked with dramaturge, who is someone who helps playwrights develop their plays. I enjoyed the process very much. We used many languages and quite a few songs.
TALLAWAH: You recently had a medical procedure at the University Hospital. How did that go?
P.M.: It was amazing (Laughs). I had an endoscopy, where they insert a camera down your throat to look around. I was asleep the whole time, but I heard it went well.
TALLAWAH: You made a point in your presentation earlier about the complexity and uniqueness of the Jamaican dialect, which struck a chord.
P.M.: I don't think our Jamaican creole is given the respect it deserves. It is a very expressive language, very complex and inventive. We're always coming up with new ways of saying things, and the foreigners love it. I think the Jamaican language ought to be cherished.
TALLAWAH: Is that why you chose to title one of your upcoming works Di Book of Mary?
P.M.: Precisely. That book will be about Jesus' mother, her life from a fresh perspective. It's the second in a series. The first one I did was called Di Man, which was about the life of Jesus and the opening line was "Yuh see mi dying trial!" I'm planning another book in the series, which I will call Di Book of Joseph. So the series will have three books in total.
TALLAWAH: What's the best thing about living in Canada these days?
P.M.: I get to go to prayer meeting once per week (Laughs). One of the good things about Canada is that they give money to the arts. A lot of writers do well in Canada because the government sets up programmes that fund the arts.
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PART 1: Mordecai gets candid about writing for young readers and readying her first novel, Red Jacket.