“I don’t write to become popular, I write because I want to inspire and motivate…. I wanted to give others something that they could relate to. I had stories to tell and I wanted to make a change in even one individual’s life.” – Saccheen Laing, in an interview with The Caribbean Current.
The Curly Hair Club has been taking the Jamaican family bedtime reading phenomena by storm and has given a positive representation of black girl magic in the lives of those beautiful princesses growing up. Her goal is for young readers to be confident that they never needed to fit in with what life outlines for their life, but be guided by their own dreams. The creative genius behind the colourful and family-friendly children’s book is Saccheen Laing, who started writing at a tender age backed by the support of her parents.
“My parents made it their duty to ensure I could read and write very well before starting school. I found and still find comfort in writing. I always tell people that writing and, specifically poetry, was my first friend. Writing is an escape for me, I can envision myself being anywhere at any time when I write.” – Saccheen Laing, in an interview with The Caribbean Current.
Saccheen Laing describes herself as a quiet, encouraging, poet who enjoys watching old movies, documentaries, sports, reading, and writing poetry. While some writers have favourite authors, Saccheen does not pick favourites when it comes to the literary world since she loves amazing writers who seize their passion; however, she admires Lorna Goodison, Jamaica’s poet laureate.
The twenty-six-year-old has already published four series of poetry and a children’s book over the years and looking forward to her second debut. She did extensive research prior to self-publishing her first book, Voice of Jamaica in 2015/2016, and with experience, subsequent publications became easier. Her books to date are The Voice of Jamaica, The Poet’s Escape, Stripped Souls, Poetic Queens, and The Curly Hair Club.
“The Voice of Jamaica speaks about social issues affecting Jamaicans. The Poet’s Escape offers support when dealing with the struggles of day-to-day life. Stripped Souls speaks about how challenging breakups can be. Poetic Queens is a salute to black queens. The Curly Hair Club encourages black girls to love and appreciate their natural hair.” – Saccheen Laing, in an interview with The Caribbean Current.
Born and raised in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Saccheen attended St. Catherine Primary school , and then she went to Wolmer’s Trust High School for Girls. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Technology at the University of Technology (UTECH). Although the digital marketer has a full-time, she has never given up on her passion as she practices her art form of poetry and writing whenever she gets the opportunity.
“My best learning experience was that no matter how long your goal takes or how hard, never ever give up. The time you achieve your goal is exactly when you were supposed to. My worst learning experience was when I was younger and felt like I needed to change myself in order to be seen or heard. I learned since then that the best way to make an impact is to be proud of who you are naturally .” – Saccheen Laing in an interview with The Caribbean Current.
While she doesn’t mentor, she has had many who have been encouraged by her books. She is very much impacted by Jamaica’s culture, which has fueled her with writing material and writing style, where she lives in the moment from which she draws inspiration.
“Not to sound selfish but my biggest influencer is myself. I’ve never tied myself to anyone else as I know people can disappoint from time to time, so I never wanted to fall off if my influencer does.” – Saccheen Laing in an interview with The Caribbean Current.
Saccheen started writing publicly in 2010 both professionally and as a hobby, and while she struggled to get her work supported locally at first, she can proudly say that she now has support on the local and international scenes.
“My books have been well received and for that, I am so thankful. The only criticism I remember is that I need to hurry up and release my next book ha ha!” – Saccheen Laing in an interview with The Caribbean Current.
Saccheen self-promotes her books via Instagram and other social media platforms, and by referrals from her customers who share their love for her work. Her most recent book, the Curly Hair Club, was her first children’s book. Curly Hair Club can be purchased @ Amazon.com and in Jamaica at the Earth Elements outlet, with more outlets coming soon.
Before she came to a more manageable stage in her journey she experienced difficulty with regards to financial support and getting the children’s book illustrated. At times she wanted to give up due to the added issues that arose, but she remembered her “Why” which was the reason she wrote the book and persevered.
“I was led to writing this book, because I remembered how hard it was to find books when I was a child, with characters that looked like me. I knew little girls needed this and so I had to keep on working on it and giving up wasn’t an option.” – Saccheen Laing in an interview with The Caribbean Current.
Since her successes with the Curly Hair Club, she has been featured on various shows like TVJ’s Smile Jamaica, Palav with Gerry McDaniel and on the Sunny Side Up with Paula Porter and Francois and has also participated in this year’s staging of Kingston Book Festival. While her highlights included being on Smile Jamaica, having celebrities like Rosario Dawson and Nick Cannon highlight her work, she was still amazed by the overall success of the book since its debut.
In the future, she looks forward to launching another book before the end of the year, which is her most urgent priority. The book is entitled “Thrones Not Cells”, and it is the male equivalent of the Curly Hair Club, which encourages young boys to invest in education and self-love. Whilst the writing and the cover of the book is complete, she desires financial support to complete the illustrations.
Other than opening her own publishing company, Saccheen plans to do what she loves, find peace, and make a difference to even one person. She sees herself making an impact and in five years she dreams that her books will be in schools and children will know that they are full of promise, purpose and are beautiful.
“Sometimes survival takes you away from your passion, but you must always find your way back.” – Saccheen Laing in an interview with The Caribbean Current.
By Alexandra Daley