Meet Saint Lucian author Mandy Preville-Findlay: an educator, development facilitator and community collaborator who lives in London.
Co-founder of the community group, BEYOND IYANOLA, which she developed with her husband Marlon Findlay, she believes in collaborating for development. Her community group is a diaspora-focused organisation that identifies, amplifies and celebrates the brilliance of the diaspora, globally. To this end, Preville-Findlay engages agencies and personnel around the world to enhance development in Saint Lucia, including the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Global Diaspora Confederation (GDC) and International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
You can find out more about BEYOND IYANOLA and read their publications by searching for @BEYONDIYANOLA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Issuu.
Preville-Findlay has always had a love for all things literary and nurtured her love for writing by filling many notebooks with ideas and stories. With an overwhelming passion to tell the world about her homeland, mingled with her innate education development focus, she wrote Azani Runs to bridge the gap between celebrating the uniqueness of Saint Lucia and the reality of family life. She sees this as the perfect platform to bring the island to homes around the world through early education.
Preville-Findlay attributes her drive, to connect the diaspora and provide an avenue for storytelling, to her parents: Jonathan Preville (retired lecturer from SALCC) and Sylvia Preville (deceased insurance broker from GTM) to whom her book is dedicated. Along with her army of supporters in addition to her siblings and family members – including Kendel Hippolyte and Judelia Medard-Sebastien.
As a native Saint Lucian, Preville-Findlay is keen to include aspects of her identity in all of her books. Azani Runs is her first children’s book and the first in “A Family Movement and Discovery Series”, inspired by her nephew Azani and her over 20 years of working with children of all ages.
Young children are sometimes told to stop doing one thing or the other, restricting their ability to learn through exploration, this book celebrates the joy of movement and discovery. Preville-Findlay is also using this as an opportunity to get lesser acknowledged names in print. She firmly believes that every child deserves to be the lead in their own story and see their name in print.
The writer is currently writing a story for each of her nieces and nephews. Look out for more of her stories about ‘dinosaurs’, vehicles and dancing. She aspires to use the coming years to publish books from a range of genres (fiction and non-fiction) for young readers, middle grade readers and adults.
Inspired by the visionary Kathy Birch-McDiarmed, Librarian at SALCC who is already working to upgrade the status of libraries and reading in Saint Lucia, Preville-Findlay aims to work collaboratively to support this focus.
She said: “I can still remember my summer vacation being spent in the Central Library, participating in one programme or the other. In fact, I am sure I still have a certificate from one of these sessions somewhere. Reading was a major part of life growing up and I can’t imagine a greater gift to share.”
Preville-Findlay’s mantra – “Everyone has a story that someone, somewhere needs to hear.’’