Erna Brodber Presents Something Big With “Nothing’s Mat”


Tanya Batson-Savage (for Susumba) writes about the recent launch of Jamaican writer Erna Brodber’s new book Nothing’s Mat [see previous post Launch of Erna Brodber’s new novel: Nothing’s Mat]. Here are excerpts. The book was presented at the University of the West Indies-Mona, on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

Nothing’s Mat, the newest novel from the pen of Dr. Erna Brodber recently made its debut. Dr. Brodber’s reading revealed a novel that might be slight in size but seems to be offering up weighty in its content. The launch took place at the University of the West Indies at a lively launch staged through the combined efforts of the Department of Literatures in English, the UWI Press, and the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies.

Dr. Brodber revealed that having a launch hosted by the department of Literature has been a goal of hers for the past four years. She also remarked that she had also aspired to having a performance by Rosina Moder and Friends included in the launch. This was achieved on both counts, with probably a little bonus, as Joel Ashbourne, one of the evening’s musicians and Brodber’s former student, treated her to the song ‘Kiting’ which had been inspired by her.

Dr. Brodber laughingly remarked that it was the first song that had been written for her, and she hoped it would be the first of many.

Indeed, Dr. Michael Bucknor chair of the event and head of the department of literature, in introducing the performance also spoke about the multiple ways in which Brodber’s work had proved inspiring. “Creativity inspiring creativity is at the core of what writers do,” Bucknor said.

Despite its title, Nothing’s Mat seemed to have be quite something, and owes its inspiration to family and an interest in African history.

“The ‘Nothing’ in Nothing’s Mat takes me into my family archives,” Dr. Brodber explained. She went on to point out that it was a combination of family and a growing fascination with fractals and its relationship with African knowledge systems. [. . .]

Erna Brodber is the author of several novels and essays. Her works include Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home, Myal, and Louisiana.

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