VERNA WILKINS> 70 > PUBLISHER > LONDON
The mother of uninvisibility
In the early seventies, a young girl watched a stunning black queen, dressed in vivacious silk, pull up behind the moving truck unloading next door. She'd never seen a woman of colour in her upper-middle class, white bread Surrey town before. And she certainly had no idea what her father meant when he said, "There go the property prices".
All she saw was a magical goddess.
And she was right, Verna Wilkins is a force of nature.
A few years later, when Verna's son came home from school with a drawing of himself, she asked, "Why have you coloured your skin pink?" She was horrified by his response, "Because it's for a book".
"I went straight to the library and the only black faces I saw were Gollywogs. I knew I didn't just have to write a book. I had to start a publishing company."
Verna ran Tamarind Publishing from her kitchen table and got her books into every school in the country.
Her life's work speaks for itself:
But something else happened around that kitchen table.
Verna became great friends with her next door neighbour, a typical 1950's ex-beauty queen, housewife and earth mother. Little did they know they were starting something that's starting something right now.
In the early eighties, the two wise women had a cuppa, like they did almost every day, and the earth mother said,
"I've finally worked it out, Jane's not my daughter, she's yours."
Stories from before social media, carried by teapots and laughter to inspire whole new generations.