Sun | Sep 24, 2023

Intriguing insight of life in the plantations

Published:Sunday | May 7, 2023 | 1:09 AMBook review by Claudette Beckford Brady -
Book cover Run to Freedom
Book cover Run to Freedom

Run to Freedom is a story that grabbed my attention and held it from beginning to end. The book is just over 200 pages and the gripping narrative is set on an 18th- century Jamaican slave plantation. It tells the story of the lives of the slaves, and in particular, the yearning for freedom of a young boy, Kofi, who, trained and encouraged by his late father, makes the decision to run for freedom despite the risks and dangers involved. It is a story that resonated with me because from my early teens, when I discovered that I was the descendant of African slaves, I sought and discovered books about slavery and began to learn about my African ancestry and history – learning things that were not taught in school. I would spent so much time thinking about the lives of my slave ancestors and wondering and imagining what it must have been like to live in that era. So Dawn’s book gave body to my imaginings.

Having read and enjoyed the story, I kept pestering Dawn for a sequel as I so desperately wanted to know what transpired thereafter. What about the people Kofi had left behind when he ran? His mother? His sister? Well, I’m happy to say that the sequel has finally been written and will be published in the spring. Hopefully, the third in the trilogy will not be too long in coming.

These books tell compelling stories and should be required reading in all Jamaican schools. It is a shame that the majority of our young people do not know their history, and those who do, are ashamed of it. Run to Freedom not only brought freedom to young Kofi but can bring freedom to the minds of young people who want to acknowledge their roots with pride and without shame.


The book was launched in New York recently. Playwright Basil Dawkins highlighted Dawn’s contributions to the Jamaican theatre. While Dave Rodney gave an insight insight into Dawn’s commitment to her role as an educator. Author and educator Andrene Bonner and I celebrated our personal connection to Dawn and her work as fellow writers in the Jamaican diaspora.

Quarantina Writers, a North American writers’ group related their experience of getting to know Dawn and becoming passionate about her work. Andrene, Quarantina Writers, and I all had been, unbeknown to each other, urging Dawn to publish a second edition of Run to Freedom, record the audiobook, and put us out of our misery by publishing the rest of the trilogy.

Among those present at the launch were former Poet Laureate of Jamaica Mervyn Morris, actress, Jean Small, soprano Dawn Virtue James, composer and musician Peter Ashbourne, and singer-composer Sharon Forrester.

Singer and actor Mary Ann Raymond was in great voice as she read the review on my behalf. Among those who came were Faith Nelson, Claudia Robinson, and Melanie Ghisays.

Title: Run to Freedom

Publisher: BambuSparks Publishing

ISBN: 978-976-8332-01-1

Availability: Amazon

- Claudette Beckford Brady, an author and her best sellers include Sweet Home, Jamaica