tales of papine front cover
tales of papine back cover

Tales of Papine



During my recent visit to Jamaica, to teach at UWI, Papine was the area of Kingston I got to know the most. My first two purchases in the country were in Papine; from Papine Delight and from a street vendor. My favourite place to eat is located there: Dr Spice. And the Gordon Town Road which runs through Papine, takes you all the way to Gordon Town, where a statue of Miss Lou embellishes the square.

Celebrating Papine through my love of folklore, I’ve created a character called Jah Folk; due to his love of the oral traditions and the people who listen to them. He talks of everything; street vendors, children, singers; trees, rivers, birds: he loves to talk of trees and rivers. This is the first in a series of Papine Tales.

In the appendix, is my re-telling of a traditional tale – told my David Brailsford – about the dreaded bull Gashanami. I’ve kept the three key elements – bull, hero and tree – but changed the hero’s name, location, added chant and another ending.

By using verse as well as prose, I hope to make this and the collections that follow, as accessible to as wide a readership as possible. With this and other writings, I hope to re- introduce folktales to the folk – the general public – as it has been in the guardianship of academics for a long time now. To re-ignite excitement in the evening traditions of the inter- generational setting, when all – grandchild to grandmother – gathered to enjoy the moonlight stories.

I give thanks to YouTube, for the naming of certain roads and reminding of shop names.

I continue to celebrate Jamaica – as in Papa Sorrel and The Wonderful One – through these contemporary folk tales; introducing a legendary folklorist, Jah Folk of Papine.

to the staff of 138 Student Living University of the West Indies, Mona campus

and I-Nation Books.

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