Author donates books to Humane Society

People take books to the Humane Society’s secondhand book shop The Book Loft all the time, but this month a book donation with a difference occurred – the book’s author was the donor. 

Author, educator and conservationist Martin Keeley donated 20 copies of his short story collection “Oscar and the Royal Avenue Cats” to the store. 

Mr. Keeley, who works at UCCI on Cayman Brac, was in Grand Cayman earlier this month to promote awareness of the importance of mangroves. He brought the book copies with him to donate to the Humane Society during June, which is Cat Month. 

He started writing the book in the early 1980s, inspired by stories he told to the children of friends while they went on walks. “I started writing them down and I had a friend, Donna [Sharpe] who was quite a brilliant artist in Calgary, Canada, and I asked if she’d be interested and she did the drawings. There were five stories.  

“Then life changed and they kind of got buried and basically forgotten. After [Hurricane] Paloma, I was cleaning up… and I found the three-ring binder with the photocopied stories. I was in the process of publishing my poetry books and I thought why not publish these stories as well. I had to update them because they were from the early ’80s. Things have changed, although personalities, strangely enough, have not. I haven’t, cats haven’t.” 

He contacted Ms Sharpe, who had come across the original artwork just a few months earlier while cleaning out her studio. She sent them to him and he forwarded the stories and artwork to his editor, Glennys Christie in Florida, who told him he needed another three stories because five 
was not enough.  

So, both he and Ms Sharpe returned to write about and draw the cats they last worked on 
30 years earlier. 

“We did it. That was last year and so we self published last November,” said Mr. Keeley. A total of 700 books were published. 

The stories are the adventures of “urban guerilla” cats, led by Oscar, who tackle problems threatening their neighbourhood of 
Royal Avenue.  

“They deal with modern urban concerns and problems. Those haven’t changed in 30 years – the bad guys are still the same bad guys and the sleaze bags are still the same sleaze bags and instead of having Superman fight them, we have Oscar and the Royal Avenue 
Cats,” he said. 

Author, educator and conservationist Martin Keeley donated 20 copies of his short story collection “Oscar and the Royal Avenue Cats” to the store. 

Martin-Keeley-and-Kim-Blackwell-of-the-Book-Loft

Author Martin Keeley donates copies of his book, “Oscar and the Royal Avenue Cats”, to Kim Blackwell of the Humane Society’s Book Loft. – PHOTO: SUBMITTED
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