Rosey Thomas Palmer is proud to be a dual citizen of Jamaica and the UK with writing connections in both countries. After an education in London, she started adult life as a teacher on contract to the Jamaican government in Spanish Town and at Vauxhall School in Kingston. Family pressures took her back to England where she taught for ten years in various schools in South London, Peterborough and Nottingham where her awareness of the undervaluation of the Jamaican language and culture was pointed up by a senior post focused on the attainment and labelling of the children of England’s immigrant work force.
The happy and productive years she had spent in Jamaican schools drew her back to her adoptive country, accompanied by her then husband and two children. Settling in Westmoreland, close to Mr Palmer’s roots, Rosey found that Westmoreland compared badly with Kingston for youth activities and literary opportunities. In response she founded and ran DELA Children’s Workshop and assisted like minds by collaborating to create Sav Ink, the Savanna-la-mar Arts Movement, Westmoreland Inter-Schools Reading Association and the Westmoreland Chapter of the Sustainable Communities’ Foundation for Tourism. In the course of these involvements she met her friend and mentor, Eva Jones, and began to weave the novel that became “Hues of Blackness: a Jamaican Saga”.
The saga of personal life and the impetus of her will to publish took Rosey Thomas Palmer back to the UK and held her there for ten years whilst her children matured and her marriage crumbled. Rosey’s daughters chose England as their place of permanent residence and her mother aged slowly. To fund her stay, Rosey gravitated to a career in Health and Social Care through which she met many of the original Jamaican migrants to Nottingham and heard their stories as well as learning about the toll life in a cold climate had taken on their bodies how their sense of self had survived. This spurred more writing and led to mentoring and motivating activities for and with fellow writers.
Rosey Thomas Palmer now focuses on international links including visits to America and, hopefully, future visits to Africa, whilst resuming residence in Jamaica and deepening her contribution to literacy and literature there.
And now from the author herself:
I am inspired by beauty and variety. I am intrigued by ironies and discrepancies. I celebrate a multitude of experiences in various locations, both first and second hand. I write because it has been my strongest form of communication from childhood up. I publish because the voices of the people around me must be heard.
As many do, I spun narratives as a child, but I failed to take prompts from my mother and teachers seriously enough to build a career in writing. Instead I fancied visual arts or drama but settled for teaching. Throughout the troubled period of adolescence I wrote diary entries and poetry. As a young teacher of English I experimented with a fantasy novel. All of these scriblings are now lost. However, I taught literature creatively and moved from this to playwriting with a dynamic group of students at Vauxhall Secondary School. I was privileged to have the support of my principal and other staff and training from the JCDC. I was still considered a visiting teacher, though, and, without a sense of belonging, I went back to the UK. Although play writing and production was put aside there, academic understanding was added to my Patois skills during subsequent studies for two degrees under the Institute of Education in London. During ten years of teaching in a variety of English schools and at increasing levels of responsibility, I used literary forms to assert the value of the home languages of families that had migrated from Jamaica.
After the termination of my first marriage I longed to return to Jamaica. When I returned it was to the country parish of Westmoreland where there were vaste resources of culture, history and language. waiting to be conserved. Drama still played a strong role in my teaching ad community life and i worked on school plays, community performances and Drama in Education. Poetry writing became public and shared with the poets’ co-operative known as Sav Ink from which mentoring opportunities opened up for me. Academic writing was requested by the Adult Dyslexia Organisation and my contacts with community tourism enabled field work for the novel about Westmoreland’s women that was later published as Hues of Blackness: a Jamaican Saga.
My daughters had grown up enough to leave their country home and return to the UK but not enough to manage comfortably without their parents. Our response to their need was a joint effort at first but distance and prejudicial legislation wore the marriage ties so thin that divorce was the regrettable outcome.
At liberty to explore the full parameters of being myself, I took on the cost of a joint venture publication which drove me to another diversification of my writing career. Whilst waiting for an affordable means to publish the sequels to Hues of Blackness, I began ghost writing for other self-published writers. I shared the stories of a refugee from the Yemen whose life spanned Russia and England as well as her husband’s homeland. Two volumes of her biography have been completed; Before It’s Too Late! and Fight For Life by Sandra Joyce Sallman. I also arranged and edited two books for an inspirational writer, Mark Phillps, They are published under the joint title of The Book of Life and the first edition to become available is sub-titled Born to Live. I have also recovered stories from early migrants to England in preparation for a celebratory anthology of Jamaicans’. experience in the UK.
I work rapidly, benefitting from deadlines and time scales. I seek good conditions for my writing by using my two homelands optimally for research and production. As I have to maintain employment in order to fund my craft, I find especial enjoyment in my career in care which enables me to meet the elderly, experienced and enlightened members of society and I remain fascinated by teaching the intricacies of the English language to mature and interested learners. I look forward to developing language and literature courses in Jamaican Creole now that the significant step of the production of the Jamaican Bible has taken place.
You can find more about Rosey and her writing via…
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