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A-dZiko Simba Gegele Launches Debut Novel: All Over Again

A-dZiko Simba Gegele speaks at the launch of All Over Again

For years, A-dZiko Simba Gegele has been steadily building a reputation as a strong storyteller and spoken word artist. Her growing body of anthologized work, largely poetry and some fiction, also cemented her identity as an emerging Caribbean writer. On Sunday last, she officially scribbled in her name onto the roster of Caribbean novelists with the launch of her debut work, All Over Again.

All Over Again is a humourous coming of age story that the author describes as suitable for both the young and the young at heart.

All Over Again is for young adults and adults who are young at heart and still remember their own heady days of youth,” Simba Gegele said. “It’s like one of those animation movies that you take children to see because you want to see it yourself,” the author explained.

Nana Afua Fofie, Akan Priest and Amina Blackwood Meeks enact the libationThe launch, hosted by skilled storyteller Amina Blackwood Meeks, was held at the Centre for the Arts, University of Technology and saw several members of the literati, as well as Simba Gegele’s friends and well-wishers packing the room to capacity. The Centre boasted art by Pamela Hunt-Bromfield, as part of the Creative Edge series. The launch also featured eclectic music from M’bala, on percussions, and Andre France, on flute.

Simba Gegele held the audience spell-bound with her dynamic reading and assured and unaffected writing. She read two segments of the novel showcaseing both its humour and pathos in the protagonist’s turbulent journey through boyhood.

A question and answer segment followed the reading and highlighted the audience’s interest in her decision to narrate the story from the perspective of a young boy as well as the novel’s unique style, the rare second-person narrator.  The audience including: Sheena Johnson Brown, authors Erna Brodber & Jonathan Burke at rapt attention

“It’s been a long held dream of mine to have a novel published.” Simba Gegele said. “To have it published in Jamaica by a Jamaican publisher is like the icing on top of the cherry on top of the chocolate on top of the cake.”

A-dZiko Simba Gegele looks at her book in wondermentSimba Gegele’s poetry and prose have been widely anthologized, appearing in several collections including: The Virago Book of  Wicked Verse, Iron Balloons: Hit Fiction From Jamaica’s Calabash Writers Workshop, and So Much Things to Say: 100 Calabash Poets, and Jubilation!: Poems Celebrating 50 Years of Jamaican Independence.

Interestingly, two of those collections have been produced in collaboration with the Calabash International Literary Festival, which was also on Simba Gegele's thank you list. The author had participated in the Calabash (Jamaica) and Cropper Foundation (Trinidad and Tobago) writing workshops and also recently completed a residency at the Yaddo Artists retreat in Saratoga Springs. New York.

At the end of the event, sated from dining on the word, the audience was treated to delectable sweets from A Likkle Slice of Heaven and wine from Caribbean Producers Jamaica.

All Over Again is published by Blouse and Skirt Books, an imprint of Jamaican independent press Blue Moon Publishing. The launch was held on Sunday, September 29, 2013.