1-18 April 2023, #MarySeacole
The book choice for #ATownExploresABook23 is the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands. It is an autobiography and travel writing book by nineteenth century adventurer, Mary Seacole, a woman of the world.
Mary Seacole is many things to many people and a good place to start is to explore her as a woman fundamentally informed by an inspirational parent. Her mother ran a lodging house in Kingston, Jamaica. Variously termed Creole and Caribbean, Mary’s mother was a black woman who was a healer-doctor and shared and taught Mary many of her skills utilising traditional Jamaican medicines.
Mary was born ‘free’ unlike many of her contemporaries at the time. Her father, James Grant, was a white Scottish army officer stationed in Jamaica – which at the time was a British colony.
Mary forged a career that embraced the roles of nurse, doctor, carer and business woman. Her lifetime travels pervade the autobiography and this festival marks the 200th anniversary of her first solo journey to London in her late teens, an inspiration to young people today.
Festival projects will also mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS and the docking of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in 1948 exploring how heritage text Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands is relevant to readers today.
A unique annual reader-led festival of creative responses to a heritage book delivered by ExploreTheArch theatre company.