The London Office Speaks to: Cha’Von K. Clarke
Author, poet, and playwright Cha’Von K. Clarke shares her proudest moment, what she misses most about Bermuda, and
her response to the infamous ‘Bermuda Triangle’ reference…
When did you develop such a passion for writing?
“I wrote my first song at 6 years of age. It was called, “It’s a Beautiful Day”. My first poem was a few years after that and I was Assistant Editor for the yearbook and newspaper while a student at Bermuda Institute. My first play was “Miss Scrooge 1995” and featured Miss Thang (Kristy Burgess) as the main character. This was written for Bermuda Institute’s Christmas production for that year. I started writing short stories for the Royal Gazette newspaper in 2007 and finally won the Christmas Short Story Competition in 2012 with “The Christmas Gombey”, a tribute story to my grandfather, Henry Crowther Wilson, who was a noted Gombey drummer in Bermuda.”
Where does the inspiration for your stories come from?
“My background is psychology, criminal justice and cognitive neuroscience. I have a passion for people, the social ills that affect the way they view themselves and how the opinions and judgments of others create insecurities and further social issues.”
What has been your proudest moment thus far?
“Holding my first book, “Streets are Listening…GOD is Watching” was indeed my proudest moment in my career. Completing the children and teen anthologies, along with book projects for others, make my work worthwhile.”
What are your other areas of interest?
“In addition to writing, I am a project and event planner, book publisher, host for events and, top on the list – MOTHER AND SOON-TO-BE WIFE! My writing spans across genres so I am a poet, playwright, novelist and short story author. My passion is in empowering talents of all kinds but I have a special love for performing artists/entertainers, probably because my family tree includes a list of talented performers and event organisers, including my brother – Jason “Combat” Clarke and my grandfathers – Henry “Crowther” Wilson and Robert E. Hayward.”
What made you relocate to the UK?
“I came to the UK to show my son that the world is much larger than what he was accustomed to in Bermuda. He’s thriving in the UK and his self-esteem has improved significantly. We are happy that we took the step.”
What do you miss most about Bermuda?
“Other than my family and friends, I miss swimming TOP ON THE LIST. Art Mell’s fish sandwich is high on the list too. I miss Bermuda “back in de day” a lot but that’s done and dusted so I am satisfied with just appreciating Bermuda and Her beauty. I am indeed Proud to be Bermudian!”
What about the culture/heritage of Bermuda comes out most in your work?
“I write about people and social issues. The first question that I start with for any project is, “What’s the story?” Real people (though in a fictional character), real issues, real success stories and real healing advice are the ingredients in my pot!”
For those who may not know, what is CKC Corporation?
“CKC Corporation is a group of entities formed to give talents opportunities in the spotlight. Spotlight Talent Agency, CKC BOOKS and CKC Cares have one mission as the central focus and that is supporting talents. We have organised numerous shows and events with this purpose and also hosted school-break camps for young people at an affordable price and invited parents, family and the community at large to weekly showcases to allow participants to showcase their talents. Many of those young people have continued to develop their talent and are performing on island and overseas, through school and competitions. Developing future leaders is important to CKC Corporation.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
“Hmmm…5 years – Watching my son head off to university, building clientele for CKC Corporation and further developing business relationships to continue to promote Bermuda and Her talented people are probably where I will most likely be at that time.
And, in 10 years – With my eyes closed, I see myself opening a performing arts boarding school on a small island off of Bermuda, inviting talented young people, including those with ‘behavioural’ challenges, from all over the world to attend. Academics, sports and performing arts combined will be the core of the institution and the goal will be to build self-esteem and encourage the young people to work hard for positive spotlight and the confidence to make good life choices!”
Has being Bermudian ever been a benefit or hindrance in your career?
“Bermuda is so small and even though we are British, many people in the UK and around the world don’t know much about Bermuda. To make your mark outside of Bermuda, you have to first explain what Bermuda is! Then you can go on to prove yourself and this is the REAL world so there are no favours, no “who you know” and no tips for success. You have to work hard and prepare for disappointment at all times. It’s hard because not everyone in the world thinks that it’s cool to be Bermudian. Some people actually look down on us, thinking that we are primitive and they don’t respect anything about such a small country with people who don’t seem to fit into the categories they are used to. We take them out of their comfort zone so we have to work hard to prove ourselves. Big cities will strip you apart but after you grow the tough skin, you push harder and they eventually respect you for it.”
When you tell people in the UK where you are from, what sort of responses do you get?
“Again, it’s difficult when people haven’t heard of Bermuda. The conversation goes immediately to the Bermuda Triangle and a full explanation of who we are as a country. Sad thing is Bermuda is a somewhat confusing place. We are located alone in the Atlantic, closest point for travel is the US but we are British. Sigh. Need I say more? Try explaining that to someone who has never travelled outside of the United Kingdom and in some cases, never travelled outside of one or two boroughs in their area.
Our accent is also a problem many times. When I attended Temple University in Philadelphia, people thought the Bermudian accent was really “cool” and often tried to mock it. Here in London, some people get annoyed with the accent because they can’t make out where it comes from. They assume it is American which annoys those who don’t like Americans even more.”
How often do you hear the infamous ‘Bermuda Triangle’ reference?
“Ha! Amazing that you fire this question next! All the time! I tend to reply by explaining that a triangle has three points, of course. Bermuda is just ONE! ”
Swizzle, dark & stormy, or just ginger beer?
“Hmmm…I’m a Swizzle girl but it really depends on the time, place and situation because I can drink a six pack of ginger beer from Barritt’s too!”
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