Presentation of Anita’s Revolution at new English-language bookstore in Havana

Cuba Libro, the English-language bookstore in Havana, sent out 200 email invitations to attend the presentation of my book, Anita’s Revolution. Fifty people squeezed into a space appropriate for forty. Some of those attending were those young volunteer teachers called “brigadistas“. They’re in their 60s now, but remember well that exciting time in 1961 when as teenagers they were part of the thousands who volunteered for the literacy campaign that taught almost a million illiterate Cubans to read and write in less than a year.

In the audience was a journalist from Montana, an historian, several Canadian tourists, some Cuban teachers of English and some book people. I had just begun my talk when proceedings were interrupted by the arrival of around 22 visiting Art and Architecture students from an American univesity and their prof. My presentation was well-received, and the Q&A period after was lively. The audience was very moved by vivid descriptions by the people who were “brigadistas” in 1961 telling of their experiences as young people teaching adults, the primitive conditions some people lived in then, the varied challenges, and the dangers some experienced from enemies of Cuba’s Revolution.

Thanks to Connor Gory, Cuba Libro’s owner/manager, for organizing the event and providing such a fine introduction. If you go to Havana, go have a good Cuban coffee on the patio of Cuba Libro. The address is Calle 24, esquina 19, Vedado, in Havana.

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News from Havana

I recently returned from three weeks in Cuba, three really interesting weeks. The day after I arrived, December 17th, breaking news was the announced normalization of relations between the USA and Cuba after 54 years of rancour and isolation. I felt I was present at an historic moment.

The reaction in Cuba ranged from quiet elation, to dancing in the streets. One man told me the hair on his arms was standing on end hours after the announcment. On the other hand, people concerned about Cuba being overwhelmed by the giant to the north said they were very glad that the isolation would end, and hopefully some day soon the long-standing embargo against Cuba–the infamous trading with the enemy legislation–would end too. They said Cuba would have to be strong in order not to lose the things the Revolution was fought for–equality, universal and gratis education, free health care, free day-care centres and much more. Watching what will happen in Cuba now will be fascinating.

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Literary Event in Havana Cuba December 22, 2014

Cuba’s first all English-language bookstore, Cuba Libro, advertises itself as a bookstore, cafe and oasis. According to my friends in Havana, it has become a must go to destination while vacationing in Cuba. On December 22nd, 2014 a special event will take place celebrating the anniversary of the 1961 Cuban literacy campaign. A screening of the documentary film MAESTRA (meaning “teacher”) about the campaign is the signature event, and as the author of Anita’s Revolution, a book about the campaign, I have been invited to participate. If you will be near or in Havana that day, don’t miss attending. The address in Havana is:
Calle 24, corner of 19th Street, Vedado, Plaza.
Telephone: 830-5205

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Women and Cuba

This organization works to bring justice to Cuba, including pressuring the US government to end the 53-year-old economic blockade. They very kindly have posted information about Anita’s Revolution on their website as an available resource.

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Anita’s Revolution made the grade!

What an honour and thrill! The UK and USA Historical Novels Society selected Anita’s Revolution for review in their online Journal. To read the review, use the url below to access the website.

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