Award-winning author Horane Smith’s novel, Lover’s Leap: Based on the Jamaican Legend, will be presented at the 10th International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, in Montréal in June, alongside dozens of other essays on cultural and social issues.
Smith, who was born in Jamaica and presently lives in Toronto, said he was “thrilled with the selection”.
The novel, published in 1999 and recently re-released as an e-book, tells the story of the legend of Lover’s Leap in St. Elizabeth, where forbidden love ended in tragedy on the 1,700-foot cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Associate Professor of English Language and English Literature at Ain-Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, Noha Faisal Mohamed, selected Lover’s Leap as one of two novels she proposes to discuss in a virtual presentation on the subject of mixed/fixed relations at the conference. The other is Forbidden Quest by American author Dar Tomlinson.
Mohamed says: “In Lover’s Leap, Horane Smith, drawn by his Jamaican tradition, revives the legend of Lover’s Leap. He presents Jerome, the Jamaican slave, who is secretly in love with Anita, his master’s daughter. At the same time, Alice, another slave, is in love with him. He has to choose between Anita and Alice. Is he going to choose Anita or Alice, wealth or poverty, freedom or slavery?”
Similarly, Forbidden Quest is about a handsome Jamaican immigrant, faced with the same choice of a mixed/fixed relationship with someone very different from himself. The protagonists of both novels strive to overcome numerous obstacles to find a common ground between two different and often opposing groups.
Mohamed, who has conducted many researches focusing on interdisciplinary studies, feminism, ecology and sociology, says her paper will “focus on interracial relationships and cross-cultural issues.
“Driven by the differences in the cultural and gender identities of both authors, the paper will also investigate the points of view of both writers − as apparent in their works − towards discrimination, racism, prejudice, stereotypes, and the possibilities of overcoming such obstacles to cross the social, political, and cultural frontiers.”
Smith’s novel, Lover’s Leap, also caught international attention shortly after its publication when the late British bestselling author, John Prebble, picked up the novel at a bookstore in London, and described Smith as “one of our best emerging writers”.
In 2006, the sequel to Lover’s Leap, entitled Dawn at Lover’s Leap, was a finalist in the USA Booknews Bestbook Award for Historical Fiction.
The conference, sponsored by the International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, is held annually in different locations around the world. Over the past eight years, the conference has established a reputation as a focal point for new ideas and new practices in humanities research and teaching.
Smith is also the author of Port Royal, Reggae Silver, Underground to Freedom, The Lynching Stream, Seven Days in Jamaica and his latest, Marooned in Nova Scotia – A story of the Jamaican Maroons in Canada. He is the first recipient of the BURLA Award for outstanding contribution to African-Canadian and Caribbean literature, and his contribution to local literature has also earned him recognition by the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation Canada as one of the top 100 outstanding Jamaicans.
More information on Smith’s books is available at www.horanesmith.com.