Beverley East has…The Write Stuff
leather-clad, afro wearing member of the Black Panthers at age 17, with two arrests for protesting, Beverley East’s mother worried about her child.
“In England we didn’t have guns like the Black Panthers did in the US. We weren’t training to use AK47s but we learned how to be aware of other black people,” Beverley said. “So at 17 when I should have been out doing real teenage things, like kissing in the back seat, there I was breaking down heavy literature (by authors like WB Dubois) with people that were much older than me. My parents feared for me.”
Then, in later years, when Beverley gave up a lucrative career to ‘study handwriting’ and she was still unmarried at 35 her mother began to question her child’s sanity.
She doesn’t do that anymore.
Today, at 47, Beverley is the author of ‘Finding Mr. Write: A New Slant on Selecting the Perfect Mate’. She is married to David Davenport and they have a nine-year-old son, Diag. She is also the only woman of colour who practices graphology; and she just happens to be Jamaican.
“I was born here and I went to England when I was four,” she told the Observer after the launch of her book at the Blue Mountain Coffee Shop at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay.
As she spoke in an English accent with sprinklings of patois phrases, she pulled the last drops of fruit punch through a long straw.
“I came back when I was seven, stayed here and went to St Jago High School in Spanish Town till I was 10, and went back to England. I lived there most of my life,” she explained.
Fluent in several languages including French, German and Italian, Beverley has travelled the world in her quest to achieve the highest levels of black consciousness. Then several years ago, she discovered graphology.
“I stumbled across my career when my handwriting was analysed,” she said. “I was working in a company, and we were all so very compatible; and I said to the manager: how did you do this? She said she had had all our handwritings analysed and when I saw my analysis, it was absolutely me.”
After four years of training, Beverley became a handwriting expert, and now has 12 years experience under her belt with a 95 per cent accuracy rate.
So when she wrote a book about, basically, finding a man, her husband was taken aback. He thought the topic was too shallow.
“But when the contract came and he saw the numbers, he said: be as shallow as you want to be,” Beverley said with an infectious laugh that pulled in those who attended the launch.
In many ways, she has come full circle. Two years ago, she was a part of the audience at the Blue Mountain Coffee Shop where Colin Channer was launching his book ‘Waiting in Vain’. Now it’s her turn.
According to Beverley, she has always wanted to write. From letters begging her father for money and asking her sister for stuff that seven-year-old girls dream of, she graduated to 32 letters a week to political prisoners around the world.
“Long before Nelson Mandela became a known man, I was already aware of who he was and what he was doing,” she said. “And I was writing letters of support to Winnie when she was under house arrest.”
She started a novel years ago, but “got stuck” and so she began Finding Mr. Write. It took her three years to complete, and was published by Random House four months later.
She plans to finish her novel and then do another book on the 1957 Kendal train crash that claimed thousands of Jamaican lives – including all the members of her father’s family.
But for now, Beverley is busy promoting her current book. She recently completed a five-city tour in England, she toured 15 cities in the US, and she has been on all the local radio and TV talk shows. All 150 copies of Finding Mr. Write that she brought to Jamaica were sold.