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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Abeng Interviews Garvey's Ghost Author Geoffrey Philp

Garvey’s Ghost, written by Jamaican author Geoffrey Philp, was launched on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, accompanying the birthday celebration of Jamaica's first national hero, the Right and Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

Garvey’s Ghost follows the ordeal of a single Jamaican woman, Kathryn Bailey, living in Miami, Florida, whose teenaged daughter suddenly disappears. Kathryn’s search leads her to her daughter’s Black History professor who is not only a Jamaican, but also a devoted Garveyite. Although having little in common, the two join forces to find her daughter before it is too late. The teachings of Marcus Garvey serve as the dismantling of barriers between the two, and a bridge leading to new understandings and unexpected love.

So, Geoffrey, Marcus Garvey as a literary muse is such an intriguing and revolutionary concept. What did you hope to achieve by intertwining Garvey's principles in your story theme and plot?

I grew up listening to the lyrics of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Culture, Steel Pulse, Fred Locks, and Burning Spear, who used the life and work of Marcus Garvey as an inspiration for their
songs. I would also like to think that I am following in the tradition of writers such as Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison, whose poems, novels, and short stories were influenced by Garvey's message.

What do you think it is about Garvey that continues to captivate us 130 years after his birth?

Garvey's work continues to captivate us because of his message of redemption. Even a cursory reading of The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey will reveal the genius of
Garvey and his message of hope.

How was the writing process different for this book?

Revisions and revisions and revisions. It took me twenty years and one million rewrites before Garvey's Ghost was finally published. I've never had to go through such a long wait for any of my books to be published.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of writing and publishing Garvey's Ghost?

During the launch in Jamaica, it was good to see the reactions of friends that I've known since primary school, and new readers of my work. Marcus Garvey opened those doors for me and
I give thanks.

What has been the general response to your book?
The response has been tremendous--better than I had expected because I thought that only Garveyites I would be interested in the novel.
I was wrong.
Because the plot revolves around
a mother’s search for her missing daughter and is told primarily form her point of view, I think I have gained a few more female readers of my work. The audience at the launch confirmed that for me.

Any parting words?
I have been getting hints from the publisher that they are trying to get Garvey’s Ghost into the schools in Jamaica. I hope they will be successful because Garvey's message of hope and
his strategies for our “emancipation from mental slavery,” are needed now more than ever.

 Born in Jamaica, Geoffrey Philp is the author of the novel, Garvey’s Ghost and the children’s book, Marcus and the Amazons. His work has been published in the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories and the Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. A graduate of the University of Miami, Geoffrey teaches English and creative writing at Miami Dade College.

Garvey’s Ghost is the first book under Carlong’s newest imprint, Expressions, that responds to the need for quality reading material written by Caribbean authors for teens and young adults.
Additionally, this year is the 130th anniversary of the birth of Marcus Garvey and, to mark this milestone, Liberty Hall: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey and the Jamaica Music Museum (JaMM), departments of the Institute of Jamaica, collaborated to host a series of events under the theme, “Garvey as Literary Muse”.

The Expressions series was conceptualized with the aim of capturing the interest and imagination of youths (ages 14-20 years) across the
Caribbean. It is Carlong’s response to the need for more wholesome reading material that is written by Caribbean authors and focuses on Caribbean life, morals, values and attitudes, as well as other themes.
Carlong Publishers publishes, markets and distributes textbooks that support Caribbean curricula at the early childhood, primary, secondary and post-secondary levels.

BUY #GarveysGhost, NEW suspense novel by Jamaican author Geoffrey Philp
📍 Sangster's Book Store (Jamaica)
📍 Kingston Bookshop (Jamaica)
📍 Online -


  1. I am lucky enough to have gotten the rare opportunity to be taught about a great literally work by the author of literature I was studying, as Professor Philip was my ENC 1102 professor, and this past spring semester of 2018 at Miami Dade College Interamerican Campus was Professor Philips last time he would be teaching as he will be retiring at the end of the semester. I am a student who decided to finish my college education latter in my adult, which at the current age of 39 it makes me the oldest student in my class and my life experience gives me a considerable different outlook then all my classmates, and most of Professor Philps views on every topic we discussed in class. Also I consider myself to be much more informed then the majority of the younger students and pay much more attention to things like current events because I remember a lot more from the past events then those who were to young to really know what was happening at the time.

    When I first decided to go back to school at 37 years old, my husband asked me what my plane was, should I find caught in what he finds to be the only problem that he has with a college education, which is happening in a large number of college campuses across America. What my husband wanted to know before he gave his blessing for me to go back to school, was what I would do if I had a liberal professor who I didn't agree with their view and I had to express how I felt, or what I thought about a topic chosen by the professor, knowing the professor and I have very different views on the topic, would I say what I knew the professor wanted to hear so I would get a really good grade, or would I be true to myself, and my beliefs and express my true thoughts and feelings on I topic I was asked, even if it meant getting a failing grade.

    After some serious thought I told him that its a hard choice to make, tell someone what you know they want to hear, knowing the whole time you don't believe in what your saying and get a A for staying silent, or be true to yourself and speak what is the truth, even if you know what you see as the truth means you will get a F. Most young students wouldn't have to think about it, as almost everyone would choose a A over a F any day. But I am not young like they are, and I don't think the same way as I did when I was that age. The most important reason I wanted to do this, was to be a good example to my son, and what kind of example would I be if I chose to lie so I would get a A.

    Professor Philp was the first Professor I thought I would have to face this problem with, but it wasn't the case at all. Even though I openly challenged and disagreed with his views on almost every topic we discussed in class, he DIDN'T hold it against me by grading my work based on if I agreed with him. He is one of the few professors who still believes in free speech, and thought, even if it happens to be the complete opposite of his own personal thoughts.

    Amera Frazier

    1. Professor Philp sounds well-grounded and objective - great qualities for an educator. I wish you the best in all your endeavors, Amera. One Love


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