Barbadian author, Cynthia Wilson, presented Prime Minister Freundel Stuart with a copy of her memoir, Whispering Of The Trees, at the Prime Minister’s official residence, Ilaro Court, last Wednesday.
The memoir and its sequel, Listen To The Hills, join two collections of poetry and two short story collections, authored by Mrs. Wilson.
The writer, who is also an acclaimed actress, dancer, producer, storyteller and educator, is the recipient of Barbados’ second highest honour, the Companion of Honour, awarded in 2015 for her distinguished contribution to the cultural life of Barbados. She has also been awarded the Barbados Service Star.
Prime Minister Stuart was delighted to receive the memoir, set in St. Philip, the parish in which both he and Mrs. Wilson grew up.
Mr. Stuart said it was no surprise to him that Mrs. Wilson loved writing since he credited her mother, the late Eileen Alleyne, with nurturing his love for books and reading. He said that as the librarian at the Six Roads Library when he was growing up, Mrs. Alleyne ruled “with an iron hand”, and made sure that everyone understood that books were to be treated with respect.
“I remember her with fondness and gratitude. She behaved as though books had feelings, and you couldn’t treat books badly around her.
I embraced this and I remember once going into the Law Faculty, taking up a law report to check a case and discovering that a student had cut out the case. I felt like a felony had been committed,” he recalled.
Mrs. Wilson said that her parents inculcated in their children a love for writing and reading, and as a consequence, her home and the homes of all her siblings were “overrun with books”.