Focus2023: WomanzVue Newsletter
On behalf of WomanzVue, thank you to all those who supported us in 2023. We are proud to inform you that we have participated in/and facilitated around 35 events (online and in-person). As in previous years, our founder/director, Dr. Velma McClymont, contributed opinion pieces to several newspapers, and attended a range of community/networking events to raise the organisation’s profile.
This year, we have scaled back on our Zoom discussions, hosting three online events only between January and March. On 5th February, Dr. McClymont was guest speaker at “W is for Women Writers” online bookclub. Working in partnership with Dr. Nicola Frith (University of Edinburgh), WomanzVue officially launched its first publication, Little River, on 21st April. Dr. McClymont also participated in the University’s “Legacy of Slavery Launch” on Saturday 22nd of April and enjoyed a second book signing.
Our first physical author’s talk took place at Catford Library on 20th May. This was followed by a busy period, organising several presentations to commemorate the 75th Windrush anniversary. On 26th May, Dr. McClymont was invited to discuss her novel, Little River, on the online platform “Black History Conversations”. Having grown up in the borough of Wandsworth, she was invited to participate in the Wandsworth Heritage Festival (Battersea Library on 7th June). To mark Windrush75, she appeared at Edmonton Green Library on 10th June, Croydon Central Library on 17th, Fulham Library on 20th, and West Norwood Library on the 30th.
Focusing on the “coming to England” story, on 4th June, Dr. McClymont was interviewed by the German newspaper Taz. On 18th June, she was interviewed on Real Talk Reasoning Radio, and also on Conscious Radio. On 22nd June, she represented WomanzVue, speaking at the Mayor of Wandsworth’s Windrush Reception, and also participated in Deloitte UK’s panel discussion. On 24th June, she accompanied our patron, Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE, to a Windrush75 service at Brixton Seventh Day Adventist Church; she also represented WomanzVue at Croydon African Caribbean Family Association’s Windrush garden party.
Keen to raise the profile of the publishing arm of WomanzVue, and to join the community of fellow writers, on 8th July, Dr. McClymont was a speaker at the Hammersmith and Fulham Writers’ Festival. At the end of July, she was a guest at Reflect-On Academy, speaking on mental health and wellbeing. She also became a member of the following organisations: the Society of Authors, the Black Writers’ Guild, and the Royal Society of Literature.
In August, WomanzVue took a well-earned break. However, Dr. McClymont represented the organisation at the launch of Professor Gus John’s books (x 2) at the Karibu Centre in Brixton (15th August). On the 19th, she spoke at Tottenham Library, celebrating the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s birthday.
There were no events in September, which was a busy month for WomanzVue. We worked closely with our partners to plan and deliver a series of Black History Month presentations.
October was another exciting month for WomanzVue. Marking Black History Month, Dr. McClymont delivered in-person talks at the following London venues: Canada Water Library, Earlsfield Library (panel discussion), Croydon Central Library, York Gardens Library (in the capacity of a visiting children’s author), Peckham Library, Balham Library, Shepherds Bush Library, and West Norwood Library.
Bridging the gap between community learning and higher education, and having worked in partnership with the University of Edinburgh in April, Dr. McClymont delivered Black History Month sessions at St George’s University London, University College London, and Sutton African and Caribbean Cultural Organisation (SACCO). She also participated in a Reach Society podcast, and a BHM virtual discussion with Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Networking is key to keeping WomanzVue in the spotlight. In October, Dr. McClymont attended Wandsworth Mayor’s Fundraising Dinner and Dance, The Weekly Gleaner’s Honour Awards, and Reach Society’s Recognition Awards Dinner on the 28th.
November was fairly quiet at WomanzVue. With the belief that Black History Month is all year long, Dr. McClymont gave a presentation at Reflect-On Academy on 5th November, drawing on the theme of “Saluting Our Sisters”.
Other notable achievements in 2023: in May, Dr. McClymont was nominated for the National Diversity Award under the category of “Positive Role Model”. On 5th October, she was made an Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Then, on 28th October, she became a “Lifetime Fellow of Reach Society”.
This overview would not be complete without a special mention of Dr. McClymont’s historical novel, Little River (1731-1812), which has been recommended by the Reading Circle, praised by the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank, and was recently mentioned during a Jamaican presentation at COP28 in Dubai – as “an example of heritage”.
WomanzVue extends heartfelt thank you to our generous patrons: Professors Sir Geoff Palmer and Tony Leiba. Many thanks to Brother Cecil Gutzmore (our resident historian) and George Ruddock (Managing Director of The Weekly Gleaner UK – our sponsor). A huge thank you to Angela Franklin (website designer), and our amazing volunteers: Gavin McClymont, Sharon Tomlinson, Lyndon Mukasa. Joan Hillery (filmmaker) kindly provided technical support at Marcus Garvey Library on 19th August.
Regarding media work in Jamaica and the UK, at the beginning of January, Dr. McClymont’s article on the British media’s treatment of Meghan Markle (Duchess of Sussex) appeared in The Jamaica Observer (online). In May, Dr. McClymont was quoted in The Jamaica Gleaner online, discussing King Charles III’s coronation. On the 7th, she participated in a documentary (by journalist Simone Frazier) on the King’s Coronation. As a Windrush child, in June, Dr. McClymont’s life story appeared in the German newspaper Taz. A contributor to The Weekly Gleaner UK, after the murder of the Croydon teenager Eliann Andam in September, Dr. McClymont wrote an opinion piece about knife crime in the said newspaper.
Having established ourselves on social media this year (LinkedIn, X, and Instagram), these platforms have helped to raise WomanzVue and Dr. McClymont’s joint profile, and to increase sales of Little River. To purchase copies of the novel, please visit our shop here.
Once again, thank you all for your support in 2023 – we couldn’t have done it without you. Looking forward to seeing you all in 2024!
Dr. Velma McClymont
(Writer/Publishing Director of WomanzVue)