MISSISSAUGA: The Courtney Park Writers’ Group had a wonderful virtual launch of two books on November 20 – ‘Phyllis, the Donkey Girl and Other True Tales’ by Trevor C. Trower and ‘The Jewish Gandhi of Cochin’ by Bala Menon and Dr. Essie Sassoon.
‘Phyllis the Donkey Girl…’ contains stories told with imagination and humour, Trevor’s tales takes the reader to a bygone area – to a period in the British Isles during World War II and later in Canada during the economic growth years after the 1960s.
Trevor was born in England, where he trained in photography. He moved to Canada in 1952. He retired after 35 years’ service with Air Canada.
This collection of enchanting stories is best described in his own words: “I hope you find the stores narrated herein to be entertaining. It certainly gave me a lot of pleasure writing them.”
He says in his Introduction: “As I have added years onto my aging frame, my pleasures in this life more and more become those where a degree of wit is required to compensate for the more physical activities…”
‘The Jewish Gandhi of Cochin’ is a biography of A. B. Salem, born into the Paradesi Congregation of Jews in the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin (now part of the southern Indian state of Kerala), and who became known as a lawyer, fiery labour union organizer, ardent Indian nationalist and political leader, Zionist and the man responsible for the mass emigration of the Cochin Jews to Israel in the 1950s. However, he chose to stay back in his beloved state of Kerala.
He was a member of the delegation which asked for ‘Poorna Swaraj’ or Total Independence from British rule at the famous Lahore session of the Congress Party in 1929.
He is also credited with introducing the first bill for free and compulsory education for all in Cochin, which helped Kerala later to become the most literate state in the country.
A surprise attendee was Her Majesty The ‘Queen of England’ at the launch to deliver a Royal Speech (done with aplomb by the group’s exuberant Kim Cayer and a published author as well).
The Courtney Park Writers’ Group is more than 12 years old – although its members are not today restricted to the Courtney Park area… members live in Brampton, Oakville, Georgetown and other cities as well.
The Zoom meeting was hacked twice with dance music and abuse until the offenders were evicted and one of the participants, Ivy Reiss, rightly said: “We now have bragging rights – because we are now hack worthy….” Participants joined in from India, Israel, Canada, and the United States for the launch and the chat session that followed.
The books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine retailers. Mary Ellen, group co-ordinator, announced that the next project would be an anthology of short stories and poems to be published early in 2021.