In the year 2000, I wanted to give children in all the 30 schools in the old slave capital of Falmouth, Jamaica their own special present from the people of Mirfield, West Yorkshire. So I wrote them a special book entitled ‘The Kilkenny Cat’.
Originally intended as a single book entity, the idea came to turn the successful story into a trilogy. Between 1990 and 2005, I had visited over 2000 Yorkshire schools. I had also written and had published 30 books, which had been sold directly to schools. All £200,000 profit raised from the sales of all my published books were given to charities; some national and some local to Yorkshire. As a special ‘thank you’ to the 300 schools who had bought the most of my books over this 15-year period, a limited edition publication of the three books in the cat trilogy was produced. Consequently, only 300 sets of this trilogy were ever published.
It now greatly pleases me to make all three of these books available to the general public for the very first time through this e-book publication of the trilogy.
Between 2000 and 2003,and after Nelson Mandela had described three of my Afro-Indian-Jamaican stories as ‘wonderful', I worked with the Education minister in the Jamaican Government to develop a transatlantic pen pal project between 30 Falmouth Schools of children and 30 schools of children in Yorkshire, England. During this period, I wrote two books which were published to raise funds for Jamaican schools and to raise awareness of the area of Falmouth, Jamaica in particular.
Falmouth is an area that now depends solely on tourism for its revenue. Most of the young people of Jamaica have a dream of living a better life in either England or the USA. I therefore wanted to help reverse this emigration trend wherever possible by highlighting the positives of its own region above that of all others. I also wanted to raise the issue of racial discrimination that is practiced by the peoples of all countries across the world, whatever the color of their native skin happens to be.
‘The Kilkenny Cat’ is a trilogy about the presence and practice of all manner of discrimination. Book One deals with the theme of ‘Truth’, Book Two with ‘Justice’, and Book Three on the theme of ’Freedom’. All three books seek to show that truth, justice or freedom cannot exist in isolation, and that the only way one can experience any one of them is when one is able to experience all three.
Book One is set in the country of Ireland (the land of my birth), Book Two is set in Jamaica and Ireland (both countries I know well), with Book Three being predominantly set in Northern England (the place where I have lived for most of my life).
The trilogy is designed to show that every country on the face of the earth exercises discrimination against some of its citizens. The nature of discrimination may subtly change and vary from one country and situation to another in both shape and form, but it will always be present.
Particular forms of discrimination looked at in this trilogy include the issues of color, race, religion, age, culture, sexism, disability, homophobia, gypsies, asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants.
These issues are looked at through the eyes of traveling cats, whose experiences mirror those of human society. Overarching all the themes of this trilogy is the issue of ‘Good’ versus ‘Evil.’
Book One is set in Ireland and serves to introduce the heroine, TKC, along with the book’s major characters in the trilogy and its most prominent themes. Book Two is set in Falmouth, Jamaica and provides the reader with a way of life that most non-Jamaicans may find strange, but which all natives to Jamaica would instantly recognize. Book Three is set in the English North and has as its backdrop, the riots that embraced this area from the 1990s onwards.
‘The Kilkenny Cat Trilogy’ is dedicated to all of the Forde family.
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