Review by Frank Birbal Singh, Emeritus Professor of Post-Colonial Literature at York University, Toronto, Canada.
“Rosie’s documentary zeal in meticulously cataloguing social, cultural, and political aspects of her experience in Guyana, with a sense of wide-eyed wonder, in spite of frustration and grief, is nothing less than exemplary in Wordsworth’s White Wife. ” Continue reading
Cultures on the Cusp in 1970s Guyana – a review by Chris Cormack
in the Hastings Online Times (http://hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk/arts-culture/literature/wordsworth-mcandrew)
A newly published book by author and Hastings resident, Rosie McAndrew, gives important insights into the nature of inter-racial relationships and an historically key period in the development of multi-culturalism, namely the 1960s/70s when old cultural props were de-stabilised and emerging nations were to develop a new cultural pride and identity, writes Chris Cormack.
Rosie McAndrew’s memoir Wordsworth’s White Wife works on a number of planes; as a simple memoir of an extraordinary relationship with the odds set against it; as a historic memoir of two nations on the cusp, sixties’ Britain self-questioning of long held hierarchical and ethical codes of society and Guyana (formerly British Guiana) seeking its own new cultural identity after recent independence from Britain in a cultural ‘melting pot’ that reflected multi-racial Guyana. Given Rosie’s philological background (French and Spanish), it is also a fascinating exploration of linguistic melding and development, as creole language and culture is brought to prominence by a remarkable man for the cultural recognition that it undoubtedly deserves. Through the linguistic devices the reader is able to glean important insights into life and culture in 1970s Guyana. Continue reading
Review in the Hastings Independent by Christine Sanderson
When Wordsworth McAndrew died in 2008, he was hailed in his home country of Guyana as a ‘National Treasure’ and the voice of Guyanese folklore. But to Rosie McAndrew, who lives locally near to Ore village, he was her ex-husband and an influence that changed her life completely.
‘Mac’, as Rosie usually called him, was ten years older than her and already well-known in 1968 when the two first met. Both were attending courses at the BBC in London, his in connection with his job in broadcasting and hers to prepare her for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) – in the same town, Georgetown, Guyana, working for Broadcasts for Schools (BS) her first real job as a young graduate. There was an instant attraction well before either knew much about the other. Continue reading
A letter published in the Stabroek News on November 3rd, 2013, headed:
Forty years on, most of the splendour of the Garden City has gone
31st October, 2013
I have just been on my first visit to Guyana in 40 years. From 1968 to 1969, I was a VSO working for Broadcasts to Schools in Georgetown, and I came back in January 1970 to marry Wordsworth McAndrew and teach at St Joseph’s High School. Our daughter Shiri was born in 1972; I completed my Diploma in Education at UG the following summer, and only returned to England after our divorce in September 1973.
Since then, all through my exile, I have held fond memories of the beautiful Garden City that was Georgetown. I loved the elegant white wooden houses with their jalousies and delicate fretwork, in gardens overflowing with bougainvillea, hibiscus and oleander. I loved the wide avenues lined with sweeping flamboyant trees and canals sparkling in the sun. I loved the bridges over trenches to little wooden cottages on stilts, in yards brimming with palm trees and callaloo. Continue reading
– written for the memorial services held for him in New York and London
I first met Mac at the BBC, in London, where he was just finishing a TV course with some guys from Guyana Broadcasting Service. I was doing an extra week’s training in radio there before I went out to Guyana, to do Voluntary Service Overseas at Broadcasts to Schools with Celeste Dolphin.
As it happened, my group shared a lounge with the Guyanese crew, so I was introduced to them all. I was immediately drawn to Mac, and as I had to find someone to interview for a radio project, I rashly asked him if I could interview him about Guyanese folklore and culture. Of course, I could hardly have chosen a subject closer to his heart! He told me all about Queh queh and Cumfa; I found him fascinating, and as we saw a lot of each other for the rest of that week, I invited him down to stay with my family before he went back home. When I arrived in Guyana, some weeks later, I didn’t have to be part of the usual VSO crowd, as I had an open door into his world. Continue reading