Jamaican author launches new book

Story of a shoeless man who rose to become legislator

Monday, July 17, 2017

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Jamaican author Andrew McDonald launched his new novel, Shampatta, at Devon House in Kingston last month, and was commended by Archbishop Emeritus Donald Reece for the virtue of gratitude conveyed by the story of the main character Thomas Grant.

Reece also spoke of the love and harmonious relationship between neighbours in the fictional village of Hopeville.

Attorney Nigel Parke, cousin of the author, used his welcome address to focus on the shared values within the book, noting that the story of a shoeless man who rose to become a parliamentarian in the early 1950s is worthy of praise, but it was his love of family and those he grew up with that we all needed to emulate.

Shampatta also demonstrates that it is noble to walk through the door of opportunity and leave it open.

Campion College student Alyssia Tsang received high praise for her summarisation of the book, which tells how Grant's journey began with the receipt of a farm worker ticket, which had the entire village of Hopeville celebrating his departure to the United States.

His politeness, dedication and honesty had won him the affection of all who knew him.

Tsang also shared Grant's surprise return to Hopeville after eight years, which was a very moving occasion, especially for his wife and children. He bought a farm, organised a family reunion, and took his family on an island tour. Eventually, he stepped from a Shampatta into shoes.

The author was introduced by Howard Hamilton, who described his friend, who is the founder and president of two Jamaican organisations for 25 years, as a man who has given much of his life to serving Jamaicans in the diaspora.

Hamilton reminisced the days when he and other fellow cricket enthusiasts were guests of McDonald in Antigua and said he saw Shampatta as a crowning tribute to McDonald's love for his homeland.

McDonald spoke of his days at Ferncourt High School; the influence of the late Oswald Fisher, former headmaster, on his life; values learned; and a debt of gratitude to a shoemaker. The author also acknowledged his parents and said the world is a better place because of who they were and what they did.

At the end of the function guests were encouraged to take home an autographed copy of the book, which is also available at Amazon Kindle, and will soon be in gift shops and bookstores.

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