Politician turned author, Roy Bodden gave his collection of short stories its first ever public airing Saturday night.
The book launch and cocktail event for ‘Stories My Grandfather Never Told Me’ was the former Education minister’s second foray into publishing.
The highlight of the event at the Harquail Theatre was undoubtedly the readings of selected excerpts from the book of nine short stories centred mainly in Bodden Town.
Mr. Bodden, whose first book ‘The Cayman Islands in Transition’ hit the shelves earlier this year, said that the collection comprised only a fraction of those tales he had heard during his childhood in the district.
As well as mentioning that artistic licence had been used to embellish several of the stories; he also said that he was well underway with a follow up.
After buffet style selection of local dishes in the foyer, attendees were entertained in the auditorium by expressive on stage readings by actress Rita Estavanovich, veteran broadcaster Gilbert Nicoletta, Vibe fm host Michael ‘Fox’ McLaughlin and the author, himself.
Each, buoyed up by applause and laughter, breathed added life into the folk stories of island life in 1940s Cayman.
The tales: replete with local dialect and the people and places of a bygone time, present a vivid snapshot of local culture, before the homogenisation of the modern era. In fact use of the vernacular formed one book’s characters, so much so that the author included a glossary as some of the terms and adages are no longer in use.
‘Stories My Grandfather Never Told Me’ was published by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation. Its Artistic Director, Henry Muttoo, in introducing both the book and its author, spoke about the organisation’s remit to assist in the development of such work.
Directly after the readings, copies of the book were donated to various government ministries and non-governmental organisations. Those who were present and collected a copy on behalf of their organisations were: the National Trust’s Historic Programmes Manager, Denise Bodden; Head Librarian of George Town Library, Benedicta Conolly and Deputy Chief Officer in the Portfolio of the Civil Service, Mary Rodriguez.
During the actual book signing several animated discussions could be heard on use of local dialect and its relevance in Cayman today.
One such attendee was Harris McCoy III whose family own the McCoy Collection of local artefacts and established the annual prize in their name which promotes excellence in the visual arts by Caymanians. ‘We as Caymanians are coming alive with a growing respect and appreciation for the one thing that makes us who we are, our ability to tell stories passed down, and stories we all have grew up with,’ he said.
‘Mr Bodden’s book is a most welcome delight, it is entertaining, it is endearing, and most importantly it brings out the humour, love an originality of our Caymanian identity… a must read for every Caymanian.’
This weekend’s book signings of ‘Stories My Grandfather Never Told Me’ take place today (Friday) and tomorrow from 11am to 2pm at Hobbies and Books in the Piccadilly Centre on Elgin Avenue and Books by the Bay in Grand Harbour, respectively.
The books are also available at the CNCF tel: 949-5477 and both Book Nook locations.