FOR almost 10 years, Joelle Cohen Wright wrote personal stories inspired by the folk heroes of her childhood in Jamaica. Two years ago, she went 'pro' by officially releasing her first book of sketches.
Cohen Wright is author of A Soh Wi Do It! and A Soh it Goh!, sketch-comedy books which are scheduled to be released locally on October 13 by Sangster's Bookstores. She is among the Jamaican authors being featured in a series of events organised by the company to mark Jamaica's 50th anniversary.
The books have been released in sections of the United States and Britain through small stores and the Internet. Cohen Wright estimates they have sold over 1,000 copies to date.
"They have done well because they are very Jamaican and the characters are relatable. Launching the books in Jamaica will bring a different focus to them," she told the Jamaica Observer from her Washington, DC, home.
A Soh Wi Do It! and A Soh It Go! first hit shelves in late 2010. Cohen Wright says their biggest markets are the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as Philadelphia, locations which have large Jamaican and West Indian populations.
The books are written in 80 per cent Jamaican dialect which Cohen Wright says make them even more appealing to Caribbean readers. It was that authenticity which attracted her to Jamaican folklore as a child in east Kingston.
In addition to participating in plays while a student at Windward Road All-Age, she was drawn to the work of two Jamaican giants, folklorist Louise Bennett-Coverley and firebrand author Roger Mais.
Cohen Wright, who has lived in the US since 1989, is also a fan of contemporary Jamaican comedy actssuch as Ity and Fancy Cat. She had been doing sketches since 1999 when friends encouraged her to take her home projects further.
The results are A Soh Wi Do It! and A Soh it Go! which have done well enough to encourage her to pen a third book. She works professionally as an information technologist, and is also planning to produce audio versions of both.