One of the most prolific Caribbean-Canadian novelists of his generation, Horane Smith comes to Palaver 2016 with12 published titles; a growing reputation as a writer; and tributes and accolades from many who are themselves established.
The 2016 Palaver International Literary Festival takes place in Wasaga Beach, Ontario, August 6 and 7, 2016.
Horane Smith’s first success, Lover’s Leap: [ISBN: 0 75410 589] was published in the United Kingdom in 1999. Over the next 15 years, Horane was to complete 11 other books, including:
- Underground to Freedom (2000)
- Port Royal (2001)
- The Lynching Stream (2003)
- Reggae Silver (2004)
- Dawn at Lover’s Leap (the sequel) (2006)
- Seven Days in Jamaica. (2008)
- Marooned in Nova Scotia – A Story of the Jamaican Maroons in Canada (2010)
- When A Marriage Goes Blue (2014)
- The Will To Live (2015)
- Shortcut to Hell (2015)
This list of titles, published in such a relatively short period, is indeed impressive. However, comments about his writing have been equally impressive.
Lover’s Leap attracted attention on both sides of the Atlantic. A tragic love story which survived European enslavement of Africans in the Caribbean, Smith’s Lover’s Leap gave new life to this haunting, romantic Jamaican folk tale. It was selected as one of two novels to be used in a case study into mixed-fixed relations at the 10th International Conference on the Social Sciences and the Humanities, in Montreal, Canada, in 2012.
“Their secret meeting place was a stunningly beautiful 1700-foot cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Could their love remain a secret forever? A choice had to be made…between wealth or poverty, slavery or freedom, true love or lust.”
British best-selling British author, the late John Prebble recognized Smith’s talent when he commented on Lover’s Leap: “…read it with great admiration. …One of our best emerging writers.” And Priscilla Cotterall, British book reviewer described it as “propelling…vividly defined”. “Enough suspense to keep you turning the pages,” wrote Colin Rickards, Canadian book reviewer; while the Ottawa Citizen commented: “Horane Smith is no ordinary novelist.” And in Jamaica, the setting for the centuries-old tale, Barbara Ellington of the Daily Gleaner stated: “Once you have started you will want to finish it.”
Lover’s Leap was quickly followed by Underground to Freedom, a novel about the relentless pursuit of freedom from slavery in the ‘Deep South’ of the United States to the ‘promised land’ of Canada. This book was described by a high school teacher in Kentucky as “…a compelling, touching chronicle of a thirst for freedom.”
Horane Smith was born in a country rich with history. Indeed, its notorious city of Port Royal, at one time the haunt of some of the most vicious pirates that ever sailed the high seas came to be regarded as the wickedest city in the Western Hemisphere. Smith’s Port Royal, published in 2001, brought him a fair measure of respect from literary critics. Phillip Mascoll, then at the Toronto Star newspaper complimented: “If only historical textbooks were as well written.” Colin Rickards felt: “Horane Smith has grown from strength to strength and isn’t afraid to take on a big canvas. Read it!”
Lynching Stream, published in 2003, brought forth more positive comments. Denise Burnett (CIUT-FM89.5) said: Wow! A very good read. I’m recommending it for my book club.” Bryan Rigg, author/reviewer (Covered and Bound, CHRY-105.5-FM.) was unequivocal: “A wonderful story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
In Marooned in Nova Scotia, Horane Smith tells the story of a fearless Maroon warrior who, in 1796, along with his compatriots became the first settlers from the Caribbean to settle in Canada.
His 13th novel Morant Bay: Based on the Jamaican Rebellion is set for publishing later this year or early next year. The novel is set in 1865 Jamaica, when the struggle for better working and living conditions for former slaves, erupted in a major rebellion from which emerged two of the nation’s national heroes.
Horane Smith comes to the Palaver International Literary Festival with an impressive body of work and decades of experience and talent to share. He is the first recipient of the BURLA Award for outstanding contribution to African-Canadian and Caribbean Literature. He has also been recognized by the Jamaican Diaspora Foundation Canada for outstanding contribution to Jamaican literature.
Horane appears at the festival’s Books and Authors event at Wasaga Beach Area 4 on Sunday August 7, where the day begins with a magnificent themed Caribbean Brunch Buffet presented by the award-winning Chef Selwyn Richards.
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