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His work lives on ... Posthumous launch for Wayne Brown books

Published:Sunday | July 31, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Saffrey Brown, Wayne Brown's daughter, speaks at the launch of the late writer's 'On the Coast and Other Poems' and 'The Scent of the Past and Other Stories', at Bookophilia, 92 Hope Road, St Andrew. - Photo by Mel Cooke
Kim Robinson-Walcott reads Wayne Brown's 'The Make-up Girl' at Bookophilia, 92 Hope Road, St Andrew. - Photo by Mel Cooke
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Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

Wayne Brown died in September 2009, but his colleagues and students - not necessarily in that order - spoke for him recently at 'The Scent of the Past: Stories and Remembrances'.

The books launched at Bookophilia, Hope Road, St Andrew, had seen the light of posthumous publishing day some time before the readings at that event. In its original format, On the Coast won the Commonwealth Prize for Poetry and was republished, with additional poems, in 2010 by Peepal Tree press. The England-based Peepal Tree also published The Scent Of The Past And Other Stories in May last year.

At the reading, it was obvious that Brown's impact on the readers was tremendous, but there were no tears at the readers' table until the very end, when his daughter Saffrey gave thanks. "I stayed away from reading Daddy's work since he passed. I realised it does not matter who is reading his - it is still his work and it is still his words," she said.

She said her father did not see the evening's readers, Professors Edward Baugh and Mervyn Morris as his colleagues, or Ann-Margaret Lim, Kim Robinson, Raymond Mair, Bruce Alexander, Ashley Gambrill and Lenny Burke as his students.

"They were parts of daddy's life. They were important to him," she said.

Assessing the launch, Saffrey Brown said, "This is the kind of event that he would have liked," adding that it was casual, informal and focused on the work.

Hosted by Clement Hamilton, the launch was remarkable for its lack of speeches. There were the individual memories, Lim saying that Brown had promised to take her daughter out on his boat when she was eight years old. Robinson, who read the short story The Make-Up Girl, said "he was a hard and sometimes harsh critic."