Two Seasons Talking Trees – Kingston Edition – reader Jean Lowrie-Chin

 

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Jean was born in the district of Hartford in Westmoreland. There is a funny twist to her birth as recounted in her poem, Jonkunnu Baby!

Jean’s love for the word started when she and her siblings discovered the wonders of the Savanna-la-mar library on Great George’s Street, where they were guided by the attentive librarian, Miss Ottey. Jean’s second dad, J.E. Lowrie, who moved the family to Kingston, would take his children to the Tom Redcam Library every Saturday and would discuss the books they borrowed, encouraging this love of literature.

The Mercy Sisters at St. Mary’s Academy on Lewis Street in Savanna-la-mar and later those in Kingston at Alpha Prep and Alpha Academy continued this wonderful nurturing. She is grateful to her English and Literature teachers, Mrs. Gerda Theobalds, Mrs. Betty Wilson, the late Mrs. Gertie Anderson, and Mrs Gloria Plant. She was blessed to study Literatures in English at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) with such legends as Professors Edward Baugh, Maureen Warner-Lewis, and John Ingledew.

It was this passion for the written word that had Jean ‘keeping vigil’ outside J. C. Proute’s office at the Jamaica Daily News the week after she completed her final exams. When she was told ‘no vacancy’, she begged the secretary one minute with the editor – she got the minute …. and the job as a feature writer and later theatre reviewer. The Daily News published several of Jean’s poems.

Jean entered the field of public relations at the urging of theatre icon, Wycliffe Bennett:
“You and only you, must write my press releases!” She regards the field as a widening of her remit as a writer/communicator. She has used her writing skills to create campaigns for peaceful General Elections and win the hearts of the public for such organisations as Food for the Poor and Digicel. She created the Flair magazine for the Gleaner and has written a weekly column for the Jamaica Observer for the past 10 years.

Always the student, she returned to The UWI to complete the MA degree under the guidance of the brilliant David Williams, even as she ran her business and
started a family. Chapters of her Master’s thesis on Jamaican poet, Claude
McKay, were published in Caribbean Quarterly, edited by the late Professor Rex
Nettleford.

The enthusiastic response of audiences to Jean’s performances of her poetry at the ‘Powerful Women’ Mustard Seed benefits  was encouraging. In 2008 , she finally published her first collection of poetry and commentary written over 30 years, entitled ‘Souldance’, which has won excellent reviews both in Jamaica and abroad.

Jean is honoured to be a participant in the 2014 Kingston Edition of the Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta.

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