An Evening of Tea and Readings, October 19th

by Shivanee Ramlochan, Paper Based Blogger

Official event flyer, designed by Kevin Hackshaw.

Official event flyer, designed by Kevin Hackshaw.

Dear Friends of Paper Based,

Lest it be said that the approaching end of 2013 means things are winding down at the shop, know that the opposite is true! We’ve a handful of exciting, immersive events remaining in our calendar year, and October’s Evening of Tea and Readings, held on the 19th at The Normandie’s marketplace foyer, was our launchpad celebration of books and writers for 2013’s final lap. We were especially pleased to host, as one appreciative Paper Based customer best put it, “a trio of literary heavyweights”, in the persons of Guardian columnist Angelo Bissessarsingh, visual artist Jackie Hinkson, and folklorist Gerard Besson. Paper Based is deeply committed to paying tribute to as many genres of local and regional writing as possible, so we jumped at the opportunity to organize an event that highlighted the best in memoir writing, historical fiction and sociocultural commentary.

Historian Angelo Bissessarsingh gestures animatedly while regaling the audience with tales from one of his cemetery jaunts!

As Paper Based owner Joan Dayal made mention in her opening remarks, the shop has been previously honoured with readings from both Hinkson and Besson at past events, while this was the first (but decidedly far from the last) official appearance of Bissessarsingh at the event podium. We’re particularly looking forward to the arrival of Angelo’s debut publication, Walking with the Ancestors, signed copies of which will be resident on our shelves by the first week of December.

Artist Jackie Hinkson reads one of several passages from his critically acclaimed memoir, What Things are True, a Paria Publishing title.

Artist Jackie Hinkson reads one of several passages from his critically acclaimed memoir, What Things are True, a Paria Publishing title.

Before you begin assembling your Advent calendars, we’ll be displaying Walking with the Ancestors alongside What Things are True and From the Gates of Aksum — you might consider getting all three as a Yuletide bundle of intelligent, engaging and moving writing from some of Trinidad’s finest thinkers. From graveyard romps, to reflective tales of childhood misadventures, to historical clashes and derring-do, the selected readings enjoyed at this October gathering were each uniquely memorable.

Folklorist and Paria Publishing founder Gerard Besson shares multiple samples from the pages of his newly-published historical novel, From the Gates of Aksum.

This special event, we’re pleased to report, quickly turned into a standing-room only affair, for which we’d like to once more thank the evening’s readers and attendees. Do stay tuned to this space, and to our Facebook and Twitter pages, for information on our upcoming 2013 readings — we’re already elbow-deep in preparations for our November teatime get-together!

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What Things Are True by Jackie Hinkson

by Shivanee Ramlochan, Paper Based Blogger

Published in 2012, the year in which Jackie Hinkson celebrated his 70th birthday, What Things Are True reflects far more than a book title: it’s the author’s attempt to answer a lifelong question, one to which he knows there may be no swift recourse. Hinkson’s memoir reveals the interiority of some of his most highly generative years in the world of art. The narrative focuses on segments of the artist’s life in chapters that are both beautifully and simply titled (“Dreaming of an Old House”; “A Boy in Cobo Town”; “Autumn Blues In Paris”). Indeed, much of Hinkson’s reflections transmute what is seemingly ordinary — a childhood schoolyard scuffle; a series of ruminations on an old house; a sea voyage to an unfamiliar country — into reflections that are ornate with the weight of memory, coloured in by a mind attuned to perceptions of light, darkness and the countless variations betwixt those two states.

A Paria Publishing Title, What Things Are True has been described by historian Bridget Brereton (in her Trinidad Express review of the book) as containing a “rich social history in Hinkson’s finely written” prose. Brereton draws attention to the author’s numerous pen portraits that intersperse the chapters, adorning written recollections with visual hearkenings to buildings, portraits of family members. These illustrations serve to flesh out and deepen the ways in which the reader appreciates Hinkson’s artistic journeys.

Teeming with myriad reflections of a vanished age; of both the pleasures and perils inherent in the working creative’s existence; of the rewards bestowed by family and the dangerous allure of critical fame, Hinkson’s memoir is, perhaps above all else, the opposite of a full stop. It’s a declaration of intent: a promise of a continued life in the visual arts, marked with as much attentiveness and sensibility as shines through in these pages.