Carriacou Multi-Purpose Centre was packed to capacity to launch Edward Kent's memoir, Up Before Dawn. Co-hosted by Carriacou Historical Society, President Cosnel McIntosh opened the evening, inviting Randy Cornelius to say grace. Following remarks from Susan Payetta, Diana Wright, Trevor Kent, and special guest Beverley Steele the audience was served refreshments by members of CHS. Local reporter Rawle Paterson was on hand to photograph the event for the Grenada Informer.
Here's a transcript of Susan Payetta's opening remarks:
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It is my pleasure to be here with you tonight to celebrate the publication of Edward Kent's memoirs.
A few years ago, Edward invited me to attend the Carriacou Historical Society's annual general meeting when Beverley Steele was guest speaker. Her speech was an inspiration that motivated me to get involved in preserving the history of Carriacou and its people.
As many of you know, Edward was a skilled story teller with a trove of interseting experiences to draw upon. As his health failed, his determination to complete his memoirs grew stronger. That determination was contagious, so when he asked me for some help, I didn’t hesitate. We spent many pleasant afternoons going over the material he had already written, and when I began recording his responses and taking notes, those sessions gave us an opportunity to discuss a lot of things. Things that might have been forever forgotten. Besides possessing a remarkable memory, Edward had a gift for details and these are the gems that enrich the stories of life here on Carriacou, long before everyone had electricity, Internet, even cars!
More than anything, what Edward remembered were the people. He tells us about his workers, friends and colleagues; ordinary and not so ordinary people who made a difference in his life. Once the floodgates were open the stories poured out. I’m sure this book would be three times the size had Edward lived longer!
Together we edited and accumulated a lot of material that we hoped to publish someday, but sadly, Edward passed away before we reached that stage. I was left with a mountain of paper and no clear direction of what to do with it.
When a person leaves this world they take their memory with them. We remember the person, but how can we remember their stories if they don’t tell us? The idea that Edward’s memoirs would not be shared, and the thought that all that work might have been wasted, was the only inspiration I needed.
I submitted book proposals to several traditional publishing houses, all with the same result: Refusals based on the fact that it would not be commercially viable. While they may be right that this book won’t sell a million copies, that wasn’t what drove Edward to write it. So with the support of the Kent family, bolstered by Beverley Steele’s enthusiasm and advice, I set out to see if I could publish the book myself. Of course it took a lot more than me to accomplish this and I’m very grateful to all of the people who assisted. Before I ever got involved, Edward’s daughter Diana encouraged her father to begin writing his memoirs while he was convalescing at her home in England. Diana spent many afternoons typing her father's hand written notes, as did Karen Knights when Edward later returned to Craigston.
I’d like to tell you a little more about the book itself now. While this book is a personal memoir, the focus is on Edward's working career, but anyone who knew Edward, knew that he placed his family above everything else. Perhaps he felt theirs was not his story to tell. I'd like to invite some members of Carriacou Historical Society to read from Up Before Dawn.
Please welcome Patricia John and Sharlene Cornelius...
There are plenty more entertaining tales to be found between the covers and I’m sure everyone will want to have a copy for their own library. Up Before Dawn is now available online at Amazon.com in the United States, Canada and the UK. Books will be stocked locally, right here at the museum. Regardless of where you purchase your copy, all proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Carriacou Historical Society. I hope you all enjoy reading Edward’s memoirs as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you. Thank you and goodnight.