Friday, 16 October 2015

Jamaicans In Nottingham - Author event

On 15th October Norma Gregory launched her book at an evening event in Waterstones Nottingham. The book is non-fiction and is a collection of "narratives and reflections" on the lives and times of Jamaicans who have been influential both inside and outside the Jamaican community of the city.

After refreshments and a chance to make connections with some of the people in attendance, Norma was introduced by Dan, Waterstones event manager, who explained why he saw this as an important contribution to local history.

Local history is something that is frequently overlooked but it is always fascinating and frequently accessible. But what separates "local" history from history because history is always "local" to somewhere?

Norma explained how she came to write this book, determined that it would be her own efforts and resisted suggestions of applying for funding and how the idea of a booklet grew in size to the point where she needed to consider finding a publisher. Having sent submissions to many publishers (chosen by looking at the books on her bookshelf!) she quickly received feedback from Hansib who publish books for Britain's Caribbean, African and Asian communities.

With many photographs from collections and some taken specifically for this project, this book is anything but a dull collection of words and a timeline at the back of the book contextualises all the entries and helps with understanding. This book could have been much bigger but Norma felt that could lose the accessibility that she was keen to foster.

Local history, such as this story, is something that is ignored in the national curriculum but possibly author visits into schools can get this type of thing into the classroom if only for a few short hours.

Norma went on to explain about her next project which is about the Jamaican miners in south Nottingham - something that will be most interesting to hear about as it will include stories of camaraderie at the coal face followed by life above ground.

Norma's website can be found at:

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