Illustrations: Yvonne Soper
Bermuda-born Mary Prince is the first known black woman to tell her enslavement story and to have it written down. Her story, The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself, was first published in the United Kingdom in 1831. Mary: A Story of Young Mary Prince, an illustrated historical fiction novella for Junior-aged readers, is inspired by Mary’s story, but it is also based on Margot Maddison-MacFadyen’s PhD research, of which Mary Prince is the historical subject.
To find out about Mary, Maddison-MacFadyen travelled to every territory where Mary had been enslaved: Bermuda, Grand Turk Island, Antigua, and London (UK). Mary: A Story of Young Mary Prince opens in 1800 when Mary is twelve years old. Her slave-owner Betsey Williams, a girl close to her own age, also owns Mary’s mother and siblings. Against his daughter’s wishes, Betsey’s father sells Mary and her sisters at auction. Captain John Ingham, a cruel slave-owner, buys Mary, and she is separated from her family. Mary, in terrible peril, runs away and hides in a small cave, but, eventually, she must return to the Captain’s home.
The book contains illustrations by PEI artist Yvonne Soper, excerpts from Mary’s testimony, and images of historical documents and photographs. A related website, maryprince.org adds more resources, including maps, a timeline, images of historical documents and photographs, plus links to related websites.
Sisters Publishing, based at Hunter River, PE, independently published the book. Visit Sisters Publishing at sisterspublishing.com. The novella is available at Charlottetown’s Bookmark, and on Amazon.
Mary: A Story of Young Mary Prince makes a debut at Reading Week, April 29 through May 6. Maddison-MacFadyen will have copies of the novella at the Authors’ and Illustrators’ Festival April 29. The Festival is at Charlottetown’s Murphy’s Centre, 10 am–5 pm. Yvonne Soper will be at The Guild April 29 from 8:00 to 9:30 pm, for the opening of a two-week exhibition of artwork by Island illustrators. Soper will showcase illustrations from Mary: A Story of Young Mary Prince. Maddison-MacFadyen will participate in Diverse Story May 6, 11 am–3 pm, at Murphy’s Centre.