Judith as a writer, playwright, dancer and dramatist is ingenious in her creation of a literary arts fair to assist new authors in achieving their goals of being heard by a wide audience. On November 7 will host the Independent VoYces Literary Arts Fair at Strawberry Fields, St Mary. Here she, a lickle but tallawah artist herself, independently speaks her mind to Anthea McGibbon about herself, goals, aspirations.
ANTHEA: WHO WAS YOUR ART MUSE/BEST MOMENTS?
JUDITH: I have been writing since I was 4. My first encounter with poetry was with the nuns who used to visit and teach at my primary school, St. Paul’s of the Cross in Mandeville. I started acting in plays at school from as early as 5. Growing up, I was exposed to many different writing styles. I particularly love Shakespeare, the humor of past Gleaner columnist Morris Cargill who I studied, and the philosophical writings of Kahlil Gibran. Locally, Jennifer Keane-Dawes and Miss Lou were big influences because of their determination to garner acceptance for our native tongue and their use of the language.
My best moments are when others perform my work. The first play I wrote and watched performed was a crowning glory for me to see my words come to life. A visit to do mission work after hurricane Katrina gave me the opportunity to write a piece for the victims that was used in a benefit performance that brought in money for the mission. The other “best moment” would have to be watching lives change through the dance ministry of By His Word Theatre ministry and the knowledge that God has placed such talent in my life and that he has afforded me the opportunity to give back in his name.
ANTHEA: WHAT JAMAICAN INSPIRED YOU WHILE GROWING UP?
JUDITH: My father was my hero and my biggest inspiration, followed closely by my sister Althea. I have four sisters but she was the closest to me. My dad taught me to follow all my dreams no matter how big and how crazy. He taught me unconditional love and how to forgive. My sister taught me acceptance. She believed in me and that belief taught me how to believe in myself. Famous Jamaicans who inspired me were Miss Lou, Bob Marley, father Richard HoLung and my French teacher, Mrs. Franka Mohan-Hylton who passed away.
ANTHEA: WHO/WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR LITERARY FAIR?
JUDITH: When I published my first book, Time & Seasons: A Layman’s guide to Overcoming Adversity, I found out how difficult it was for unknown writers to have their voices heard. Although my first book was written as a healing exercise for myself, after my dad died, friends and well wishers thought it was a good book and it sold well. It was self-published. My second book, Full Circle, was also self-published and I had many personal challenges at the time. My younger daughter was ill, I had my own ill-health dealing with and other challenges came into the picture. I didn
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