Throughout their lives, many people harbour secret ambitions of writing and having their work published. Not only was this an ambition for Mathematics lecturer Cecil Browne, he actually achieved it!
In March 2010, his first book The Moon Is Following Me was published by Matador. It is a collection of six short stories that “recalls an era when the village was the centre of life in… St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
Born in 1957, Mr Browne grew up in Chester Cottage, a village near Georgetown on the Windward side of the island.
He said: “It was, and still is, an intriguing little village.”
He migrated to the UK in 1970 and, apart from spells living in London, settled in High Wycombe – home to the largest Vincentian community in England. Mr Browne is currently the head of the Math department at Uxbridge College, a further education institution in Middlesex – a position he has held for the last ten years. He holds 26 years of experience as a lecturer in the subject.
Math has always been a passion, but creative writing is a more recent interest of his. He is currently working on eight short stories for an upcoming book.
About The Moon Is Following Me (available to purchase on Amazon UK), he said: “I wanted to share some of the stories and experiences of growing up in SVG.”
He said that his inspiration often comes from what he has witnessed or overheard.
“As a writer, you need a good imagination – which I think I have.”
Mr Browne said that he hopes his publication will inspire others to write about “those wonderful tales we keep secret”.
As easy as it may seem to others, writing is anything but, confessed the Vincentian author. The married father-of-two said that aspiring writers need to be “brave” in order to get published.
“Writing is difficult. It requires time, discipline, and the ability to be self-critical. Many people have the ideas, the stories, but are too scared or lack the commitment to get them on paper.”
He encouraged them to take the plunge into writing, instead of keeping their inspiration bottled.
“Write! Get someone you trust to read your work. And don’t be afraid of criticism.”
In his spare time, Mr Browne enjoys completing the Sunday Times cross-word and reading good books. He used to play cricket, and run half marathons.
The title story of this collection follows protagonist Chrissy Black, the class know-it-all, who experiences a shift in classroom dynamics when the equally intelligent Betty Laban arrives at San Souci School.
‘Taste For Freedom’, the author’s personal favourite, explores what life might have been like for a freed slave just after emancipation.
The collection goes on to visit snippets from the lives of fictional characters who will no doubt remind readers of individuals they actually know. According to the book’s description: “These are ‘real’ people – individual, ambitious, mad, vengeful, naïve. They are like villagers everywhere.”
Click here for a preview of the first 27 pages of the book.