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The Tribune | Weekend |17

Friday, November 25, 2016

books

Passing on a passion for writing up a home plans to set rs Vera Chase dence for young write ey vi th ro h P ic h ew w N in in ily Islands from the Famate on literacy, history tr can concen n culture. ia and Baham

By FAY KNOWLES

W

HEN writer, storyteller, poet, published author and historian of the early Bahamas Vera Chase was requested by the Ministry of Education in 2011 to read stories to primary school students and encourage them to do the same, she said it was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. “I met students aged 10 to 12 who revealed the careers they aspired to - cardiologists, teachers, chefs, contractors, police officers, lawyers and designers,” she said. “Our session ended with each student displaying their talent.” Vera is passionate about children being well versed in Bahamian history and culture and “that they will write on par with international writers of their age, particularly with those in other Commonwealth countries”. She also hopes that “one day student writers seven to 17 years of age in the Family Islands will have accommodation (a home) in Nassau so they can travel to our capital for literary and cultural events”. She is seeking partners/sponsors for this initiative and explained that teachers at the home will concentrate on literacy, history and Bahamian culture. “This home/base will not only provide accommodations for students and parents, but there will be meeting rooms, a computer room, library, chapel and cafeteria. Also gardens of vegetables and flowers.” Vera is the Founding Member and President of the non-profit organisation The Commonwealth Writers of the Bahamas (TCWB), which consists of adult and junior writers in New Providence and the Family Islands. TCWB assists writers with publishing information, promotes literacy, Bahamian history and culture, visits schools and mentors junior writers.

Every year, she hosts the Storytellers Convention and the Writing Awards for participants in the annual National Short Story/Poetry Competition. Junior writers will travel to Nassau from Hope Town Primary, Abaco; Nicholls Town Primary, Andros; Orange Creek and Old Bight Primary Schools, Cat Island; and Mary Star of the Sea, Grand Bahama for the 11th annual Writing Awards on February 18, 2017. They will join participants in New Providence from Genesis Academy, RM Bailey Senior High, St Francis and St Joseph Primary and individual students from St Augustine’s College, Aquinas and Nassau Christian Academy.

Vera is Creator, Co-Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Project Manager and Historical Expert for “The Pompey Project”, which will culminate in the upcoming motion picture ‘Pompey: A Slave’s Revolt (1830)’. She said: “Back in the nineties, I kept seeing the name Pompey everywhere.” She did some research and, in 1997, wrote the Pompey Story, published as “Charlotte Rolle is My Name” in her book “Take Me Back to Guanahani”. Vera is also the author of “Pirates Paradise” and “Islands My Islands”. Her fourth book “In Search of Bahamian History”, a documentation of events and people in the early Bahamas, will

be released shortly. She took second place in the National Poetry Competition of the Bahamas in 2000. She is past Advisory Board Member, Haynes Library, Governor’s Harbour, and past Vice President of The Writers Society. Ever the history buff, in September, 2013, she hosted “An Evening In Barcelona Fiesta”, showcasing the history of Spain in the early Bahamas. In addition, Vera has written the script for “Meet Me In Moscow”, which will be a feature film, released in several languages and set in Toronto, the Bahamas and Russia. She writes mostly at night “when the house is quiet”, starting around 8pm and often blogging and writing until 1am. Vera was born and brought up in Nassau. She is married to retired Bahamasair pilot Brandford Edison Chase. They have three children and four grandchildren. A retired Royal Bank of Canada Loans Supervisor after a 36-year career, Vera attended Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School and Xavier’s College for Girls. She loves reading, writing, cooking, travelling, and gardening. She has a bucket list of what she wants to achieve in her lifetime, which is inserted in her Bible. “Already I have been able to tick off quite a few of these,” she said. • Connect with Vera Chase at thecommonwealthwritersofthebahamas.com, find her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (as Vera Jane Chase) or email commonwealthwriters@yahoo.com. For more information on The Pompey Project, visit pompeyproject.com.

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