Laurelton man chronicles tales from his homeland
But nearly three months later, Kennedy Phillip returned with the story of his shipmates' deaths and his own near-miraculous survival. On the 20th anniversary of their ordeal, Prudent has written a book, "Glory Days and Tragedy," due out June 10."This is a story that needed to be told," said Prudent, a Laurelton resident who immigrated to the United States in 1987. "In St. Lucia, we don't keep a lot of records." Prudent is currently arranging for proceeds from the book to fund a monument to the young men who did not survive. But the book is more than a memorial."It would bring my small community to the international stage," he said.And he hopes it will launch his writing career. "My ultimate goal is to have this book become a best seller," he said in English colored by the French patois that is St. Lucia's unofficial language. His voice was soft but fervent. "I want the whole world to know who I am as a writer. I want them to see my ultimate greatness." After a pause, he added, "I say this humbly." He plans to promote his book vigorously. His Web site, www.theroldprudent.com, allows visitors to sign up for the Therold Prudent Fan Club. Prudent was born in the St. Lucian city of Gros Islet in 1965, the son of a police superintendent and a teacher. He left to attend Adelphi University in Long Island, where he received a bachelor's of science in management and communications. He went on to get a master's degree in government and politics and a certificate in international law and diplomacy from St. John's University. He is married to Sharon, an accountant, and has two children, Nashota, 10, and Kade, 6.For the last 10 years, he has worked primarily in customer service for two travel agencies, periodically taking time off to work for political campaigns in St. Lucia and New York. From 1997 to 2003, he wrote a column for the St. Lucia Star, to which he still contributes from time to time. Currently, he works part time for Wood Tobe-Coburn College in Manhattan, introducing the college to potential recruits by teaching job interviewing and budgeting skills. The job has allowed him more time for writing. "I want to be my own man and make my own hours," he said. "I have always felt that having a 9 to 5 job kills creativity." Prudent is now at work on his third book, a fictionalized saga of the life of his grandparents and their sugar business. He is also the author of "Our Darkest Moment," a chronicle of St. Lucia's political history from 1979 to 1982, which was self-published. "Glory Days and Tragedy" was published by American Book Publishing, which Prudent said requires its authors to pay a fee under a thousand dollars to cover costs. However, he pointed out, "They don't just accept any manuscript." "Glory Days and Tragedy" centers on the disaster at sea, which began when George and Kennedy Phillip, their cousin Perry Charles, and three teenage boys who had been kicked out of school earlier that day for bad behavior left on a routine fishing trip. When the motor of their boat stalled, the 22-foot open vessel drifted into the Caribbean. In the following weeks, five of them died from disease, drowning or violent hallucinations that induced them to throw themselves into the water. But most of the book recounts the experiences Prudent shared growing up with George and Kennedy Phillip in Gros Islet, from their strict Catholic education to "horse races," in which local boys mounted broomsticks with paper or wooden horse heads for a day of competition."It wouldn't do any justice to George just to write about his death," Prudent said. And focusing the book on Gros Islet allowed him to write about his beloved home town. "It might be a bit of bias," he said, leaning back and surveying his living room, whose striking avocado green walls and gold trim were his own design, "but I think it's the heart of St. Lucia."Several of Prudent's fellow St. Lucians responded enthusiastically to "Glory Days." Jeremiah Hyacinth, a friend from Gros Islet, said, "he allows me to go through the terrain of memory, and remember the most tragic event of my life, other than 9/11." And Prudent's literary ambitions have lit a spark. "He has inspired me to go back to my computer and document my experiences," Hyacinth said."Glory Days and Tragedy" is available through www.theroldprudent.com.
Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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