Stories and poems inspired by the late Jamaican folklorist
Storytellers Jan Blake and Amina Blackwood Meeks and poet Val Bloom share stories and poems inspired by the late, great Jamaican folklorist Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou).
Louise Bennett, folklorist, poet, songwriter and performer, was born on 7 September 1919 in Kingston, Jamaica. She studied social work in Jamaica before going to England in 1945 to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She returned to Jamaica in 1947 but in 1950 returned to England where she worked on the BBC. In 1953 she moved to New York City where she performed on radio and on the stage. It was there in 1954 that she married a fellow Jamaican, Eric Coverely. In 1955 they returned to Jamaica where she wrote columns for the Gleaner and broadcast her Miss Lou’s views on the radio using her affectionate nickname. She has published several books of poems and stories and recorded many songs. She was a both a Member of the British Empire and a Member of the Order of Jamaica, and was awarded many honours during her life. She received an honorary degree from York University in 1998; she and her husband had moved to Canada late in life. She died in 2006 and is buried in Jamaica.
Amina Blackwood Meeks is a highly acclaimed international storyteller, credited for having made a major contribution to the revival of storytelling in the Caribbean. She is the founder of Ntukuma, the Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica, a script-writer for major national events including Emancipation Vigils and Independence Galas and is currently a College Orator, and Senior Lecturer at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Amina Blackwood Meeks successfully petitioned the Governor General for the proclamation of November 20 as National Storytelling Day in Jamaica, and participated in consultations on National Cultural Policy, Culture in Education Programme and Jamaica's Vision 2030 project.
Jan Blake is an outstanding storyteller, who performs in theatres and festivals globally. Jan was born in Manchester to Jamaican parents. Inspired by recordings of ‘Miss Lou’ she came to telling stories in 1986 and rapidly gained an international reputation for witty and exhilarating performances. Specialising in folktales from West Africa, North Africa, the Arab world and the Caribbean, her repertoire is full of tales of powerful women.
Valerie Bloom is an award-winning writer of poetry for adults and children, picture books, pre-teen and teenage novels and stories. She has presented and contributed to various radio and television programmes, performs, runs writing workshops and conducts training courses for teachers worldwide.
Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library
|Name:||Pop Story Gi Wi: A Celebration of Miss Lou|
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