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'Irma Diaries started hand written by candle light'- Angela Burnett Penn

- said she faced many challenges but overcame them in the end
Angela Burnett Penn reading one of the survivor stories called 'Body Bag' from Anegada. Photo: VINO
Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert accepting three copies of 'The Irma Diaries'. Photo: VINO
Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert accepting three copies of 'The Irma Diaries'. Photo: VINO
More scenes from the book signing of 'The Irma Diaries' on March 15, 2018. Photo: VINO
More scenes from the book signing of 'The Irma Diaries' on March 15, 2018. Photo: VINO
Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, accepting a copy of 'The Irma Diaries' on behalf of Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), Premier and Minister of Finance. Photo: VINO
Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, accepting a copy of 'The Irma Diaries' on behalf of Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), Premier and Minister of Finance. Photo: VINO
Scenes from the book signing of 'The Irma Diaries' on March 15, 2018. Photo: VINO
Scenes from the book signing of 'The Irma Diaries' on March 15, 2018. Photo: VINO
David D. Archer (right), newly appointed Deputy Governor, showing support to local author, Angela Burnett Penn. Photo: VINO
David D. Archer (right), newly appointed Deputy Governor, showing support to local author, Angela Burnett Penn. Photo: VINO
Local author, Angela Burnett Penn during the reading of one of the survivor stories. Photo: VINO
Local author, Angela Burnett Penn during the reading of one of the survivor stories. Photo: VINO
Patrons purchasing a copy of 'The Irma Diaries' during the book signing event on March 15, 2018. Photo: VINO
Patrons purchasing a copy of 'The Irma Diaries' during the book signing event on March 15, 2018. Photo: VINO
Angela Burnett Penn signing a copy of her book for a supporter. Photo: VINO
Angela Burnett Penn signing a copy of her book for a supporter. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Scores of persons came out to the Book Signing of 'The Irma Diaries: Compelling Survivor Stories from The Virgin Islands' penned by local author Angela Burnett Penn on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at the Camdem Gourmet Market located at the Tortola Pier Park(TPP) in Road Town, Tortola.

'The Irma Diaries' captures the harrowing, yet amazing and inspiring and, at times, amusing accounts of 25 ordinary-turned-extraordinary people who battled through Hurricane Irma, minute by minute, and came out alive.

The evening kicked off with Burnett Penn reading a snippet of the first chapter of the book entitled ‘Body Bag’ which is a survivor story from Anegada. In the story the survivor expressed that he tied down the roof of his house to the trunk of a neem tree that was in his yard.

After the reading, persons were able to have their books signed by the author, while being treated to finger food and drinks compliments of Camdem Gourmet Market, alongside a mix of different genres of music.

During the event, Governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert aka 'Gus' was presented with three copies of ‘The Irma Diaries’. One for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Prince of Wales Charles Philip Arthur George and one personally for the Governor. In addition, a copy was presented to Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), Premier and Minister of Finance.

“I look forward to personally reading this and personally passing on the copies but I also want to say thank you,” said the Governor.

“Voice on behalf of the VI people”- Angela Burnett Penn

In an exclusive interview with Angela Burnett Penn, local author of ‘The Irma Diaries’, she expressed that the book is a voice for the Virgin Islands (VI) people, while adding that she feels a sense of fulfillment seeing such a large local support for the book.

“I’m the author but I see this very much as our book. A voice on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands and all who reside here and all who visit here and all who love here. I really hope that people can feel like they are a part of the book. They can be champions for the book and the cause of the book,” explained Angela.

She told our newsroom that she sent out an open invitation on October 2, 2017 for persons to send their stories that they believe is an amazing story to share, emphasising that she wanted to make sure that she got at least one story from each of the sister islands.

She said, “I posted it on Facebook and shared in in every WhatsApp group that I was a part of and asked other persons to share it. Through doing that, I did get some recommendations of stories. I also wanted to make sure that I captured at least one story from each of the sister islands. I tried to make it sort of an open process and I tried to capture a diverse set,” adding that she received more than she expected and pushed herself into doing 25 stories from what was supposed to originally be 20 stories.

In addition, the local author indicated that she really “love” that the book is very diverse and does not specifically identify people as a Belonger or Non-Belonger but gives the reader a little bit of information to connect and get to know the survivor of each story.

“Some stories are extremely dramatic and you might read them and you might cry and others you might find yourself laughing. Also, you might be thinking about the future, learning and contemplating about life,” she expressed.

“The Irma diaries started hand written, pen & paper by the candle light”

Meanwhile, the environmental officer stated that she experienced many challenges while working on her book and expressed that it was by the “grace of God” that the book has come to fruition.

“I really do feel like it’s inspired because when I look back on all the obstacles, I couldn’t overcome them on my own. This book has a mission. It has to reach the world and to do that it takes a lot of effort to get people aware and interested in the book,” she told our newsroom.

Angela pointed out that electricity was a big challenge for her, while adding that her book started with pen and paper under candle light.

She expressed, “Electricity was a challenge. I literally still have pen and paper that I would write by the candle light. The Irma diaries started hand written, pen and paper by the candle light,” noting that she worked on the book at a sewerage plant, thanks to a very good friend of hers.

“It wasn’t always the most pleasurable of times” – Kamaal T. Lettsome

In an interview with Kamaal T. Lettsome, graphic designer and photographer, who worked alongside Burnett Penn, he admitted that it was “a lot of work” because Angela is a “perfectionist” and noted that he had to go through a number of revisions until she was satisfied.

He lamented that on one occasion, they were working on the book and she fell asleep, adding that he would also fall asleep but they stuck it out.

Mr Lettsome said, “It was a lot of work but we stuck it out and it was good. She even told me that if it wasn’t for me, she don’t know how she would have done it because anyone else would have already thrown her to the curve. It wasn’t always the most pleasurable times. However, it feels good to see something you work so hard for get so much support.”

A new print run is on order and should arrive in 4 to 6 weeks. Persons can pre-purchase at Serenpedity Bookshop on Main Street, Camdem Gourmet Market at Tortola Pier Park and at Arawak at Road Reef. The special launch price of $29.99 ended at the Book Signing. Purchases going forward will be $45.00. The book is also available on Amazon.

"I would like to thank the community for their tremendous support," stated Burnett Penn.

13 Responses to “'Irma Diaries started hand written by candle light'- Angela Burnett Penn”

  • Please. (17/03/2018, 08:19) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    Half of the miraculous stories still untold.
    • ausar (17/03/2018, 09:38) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
      Well, "please", instead of adding critical condemnation, use your talents to add to the dialogues by constructing your own diaries!
    • Barb (17/03/2018, 11:07) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
      Way more than half of the stories were not told. Some were so bad, I doubt they would have put it in the book. I hope another book is written with many more stories and an open ad asking people to submit their short stories.
  • @ @ @ @ (17/03/2018, 08:41) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Our people have real talents
  • cay (17/03/2018, 12:26) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply
    LOOK SOME OF THE USUAL CROOKS OUT TO EVERY FUNCTION
  • Sky (17/03/2018, 13:17) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    @t please, you think every story could have made the book? Stop be jealous and congratulate her.
  • Kingfish (17/03/2018, 13:32) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    The book not even cover 10% of wha happen. Maybe it was a little rush. Facebook got a lot of Irma stories. Congratz author keep on writing.
  • one surviver (17/03/2018, 17:30) Like (2) Dislike (10) Reply
    it started as an unusually powerful hurricane caused my natural conditions - but it was amplified artificially by
    an american military orbital weapon system. no bull. just the facts, ma'am. it was an attack by the US and
    they also did this at Dominica before. doing it at a british territory was an act of war. can't have that in any
    book but it is cold facts. ask the many who saw.
  • Changing Paradigms (17/03/2018, 19:48) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    It warms my heart to witness our young people embracing and exposing their natural and developing talents.

    My warmest congratulations to you, and we expect with the creators grace, many more to be unfolded.

    Our talents are limitless- once we embrace this mindset; our talents are beyond the skies, given at birth to each and everyone of us, just waiting to be unpacked. Again, congrats young lady and I do hope you will be fully supported.
  • Celebrate (18/03/2018, 00:51) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    After Irma i thought these people would change , they applaud and celebrate WHO they want , and ignore and bypass others . Same wicked ways . smh ( congrats to this lady )
  • fowl foot (18/03/2018, 05:59) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    Time to pray
  • @ @ @ @ (18/03/2018, 07:39) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Its a good read congratulations ms penn
  • Joanne (18/03/2018, 19:16) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
    Whoever lived through Irma don’t care to read about Irma. People need they health not a depressing book.


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