Curdella Forbes


portrait of Curdella Forbes

Curdella Forbes was born in Jamaica, in Claremont, Hanover. where there was a strong oral storytelling tradition. She says, "From very early on I had stories coming out of my ears, long before I was old enough to discover them in books."


She is a teacher of Literatures in English and has been a member of the academic staff at the University of West Indies since 1990: from 1990 to 1995 as Resident Tutor, School of Continuing Studies in Western Jamaica, and since 1995 as a lecturer at UWI, Mona, Jamaica.


As well as Songs of Silence, she has written a collection of stories for young

teenagers entitled Flying with Icarus and Other Stories (Walker Books,

forthcoming) and has contributed to an anthology, Survivor (Walker Books,

2002). She is currently working on a novel.


Curdella lives in Kingston with her niece, Angella, and an itinerant cat named

The Wild One. She says of Flying With Icarus, "It is a book about how the

everyday world is full of magical things, but you have to have special eyes to

see them. Children usually do."


Songs of Silence is a colorful patchwork of observations of life in rural Jamaica,

 as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Held together by the sure and simple

voice of a child, this powerful collection is interspersed with the whisper of adult

reflection, rendering the accounts at once sensuous and disarmingly honest.

Oscillating between Creole and Standard English, Songs of Silence is an accomplished piece of writing distinguished by an extraordinary sophistication of language and stylistic confidence. Relayed with a rare intimacy and detail, recollections are translated into a series of tales in which the narrator becomes a mouthpiece for a multiplicity of voices, each with their own story to tell.

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