Two very different publications appeared in 2011 – both for young people. A Caribbean History: Hillsborough – a Plantation in Dominica is an educational pack produced in collaboration with the Ethnic Minority Achievement (EMA) Service of Wandsworth’s Children’s Services in south London. This beautifully designed history of the Hillsborough estate at the mouth of the Layou valley comes in two sections: 12 illustrated cards with questions and activities for children and a booklet for teachers packed with information to support the cards. It’s a fantastic teaching resource that links with the national curriculum of England and Wales.
Abraham’s Treasure by Joanne Skerrett is described by prize-winning children’s author Ros Asquith as “A moving coming of age story packed with tropical adventure". Set in Dominica, this is a terrific adventure story for young people (and indeed for everyone). Joanne adds a dash of magical realism to a classic treasure-hunt plot.
These two publications follow on from the delightful children’s book, The Snake King of the Kalinago (2010). “This book deserves a place in any school library,” said the reviewer from the children’s books’ website Carousel. Based on a myth of the Kalinago (Carib) people, the book was written by children from Atkinson School, close to the Kalinago Territory. Wandsworth Council’s EMA Service also supported this book for its primary schools and advised on its production while copies were later bought by Dominica’s Ministry of Education for the island’s primary schools.
One of our success stories is the memoir Black and White Sands: A Bohemian Life in the Colonial Caribbean by Elma Napier. This remarkable woman settled in Dominica in 1932 and became the first woman to sit in a Caribbean parliament. Black and White Sands was acclaimed by Diana Athill, the Costa prize award-winner for biography: "A woman I won't forget ... a book that people will love." Take this book with you when you visit Dominica or enjoy it at home for its evocation of tropical landscapes, and for Napier's sense of adventure and passion for the island, its history and its people.
Another book that generated much interest – both in Dominica and the UK – was Home Again: Stories of Migration and Return. This is a collection of contemporary real-life stories of 22 Dominicans who migrated to England, the United States, Canada and the Caribbean region – and then, after decades away, go "back home". What does it feel like to be back home? Read this book and explore the positive aspects of return – and the difficulties. Compelling and intensely moving, Home Again was compiled by Celia Sorhaindo and Polly Pattullo for the Dominica UK Association. A major article about return migration in the Guardian Weekend Magazine by Gary Younge featured some of the contributors to Home Again. The book was also discussed on BBC Radio 4's Thinking Aloud, and contributor Franklyn Georges, who had the original idea for the book, was interviewed for Radio 4's programme, Saturday Live.
Papillote Press published It Falls Into Place, the acclaimed short stories of Phyllis Shand Allfrey in 2004, with an introduction by Allfrey's biographer, Professor Lisa Paravisini-Gebert. This was followed by a very different collection. Most Wanted: Street Stories from the Caribbean is by Christborne Shillingford, a Dominican writer whose troublesome anti-hero gets into scrapes both as an amateur private detective and as an inquisitive citizen. It's a modern, irreverent look straight from the streets. You mad? As Shillingford might say.
Our wide-ranging approach is reflected by Yet We Survive – The Kalinago People of Dominica: Our Lives in Words and Pictures. Here, the Kalinago (or Carib) people describe and illustrate their own lives. Yet We Survive is edited by Mary Walters, a Scottish teacher, who worked with a group of young Kalinagos on a project to record their culture: work and play, shopping, schools, religion, the differences between women's and men's lives. The result is this exceptional book, which comes with teachers' notes for use in primary schools.
The Gardens of Dominica was the first book published by Papillote Press. It is the first guide to the island's rich tradition of cultivation - from pre-Columbian times to the present - and describes the rich variety of gardens, and their uses, nurtured on this fertile island. Unfortunately, this book is now out of print.
The Roseau Valley Guide provides a detailed look at all you need to know about this spectacular area of the island. Use it on your visit to Dominica or enjoy it at home and get inspired to make a visit. Buy it in Dominica or direct from the publisher.