Romani Book Club: Red Rowans and Wild Honey, Betsy Whyte

The Romani Cultural and Arts Company presents a new venture, a regular book club meeting monthly to talk about books written by Romani and Traveller authors. Open to all who are interested in the field of Romani and Traveller literature, written by Romani and Traveller people…

Too often novels, biographies and travelogues featuring Romani and Traveller characters and individuals are written by writers who, whilst they may have conducted research, interviews, secondary reading and even lived closely to Gypsies and Travellers, produce works that are not views from within the community, by members of the community…

This book club will, unlike others that might discuss the usual, stereotypical, frequently derogatory views and portrayals of ‘Gypsies’ in the popular media and much fiction, will discuss personal narratives, autobiographies, journeys undertaken by Gypsy and Traveller people through their own and ‘foreign’ lands, and family histories of complex and rich patterns…

Join Dr Adrian Marsh, Researcher in Romani Studies and a well-known Romani historian, online each month to discuss these wonderful works, the first of which will be Betsy Whyte’s moving memoir, ‘Red Rowans and Wild Honey’, part of a trilogy that was sadly incomplete at her passing. 

We will be considering: What makes this tale of a young Traveller woman’s journey through early womanhood, courtship and a changing relationship with her own mother, so compelling? How does Betsy Whyte fit into the long tradition of Romani storytelling and storytellers? What can we learn from narratives like Betsy Whyte’s about the lives of Romani and Traveller women, their resilience and resistance in the face of hardship and discrimination?

Sunday 24th October 2021, 16:30 to 18:00 U.K. time, Zoom conference (code will be sent to registered participants), £20, booking through the Romani Cultural & Arts Co.

Book at Eventbrite:

The book is available from Amazon and Bookshop UK

Dr Adrian Marsh, “This is not an academic seminar, but something much more open and I hope, inviting to people who are interested in reading writing about Gypsies and Travellers that Gypsies and Travellers have written themselves. These books that we will be reading and discussing are fresh, genuine and filled with voices not usually heard in the welter of soundbites and stereotypes about us. I’m hoping to share aspects of literature that for some people are almost as different as voices from far afield or another time, so little are we really ‘known’ and understood by the vast majority of people outside of the communities in Britain. I’m looking forward to this book club becoming a regular part of the cultural calendar in the lives of readers who want to really know and understand something about people who are, after all, not so different but different enough to be ‘heard’ in their own words…”