Ma William and Her Circle of Friends is the story of a Caribbean village and its people as portrayed
by a shopkeeper, Ma William, and her “trusted” friends. Through the eyes and the mouths of these
people, we understand the conditions of life—in its varying aspects—that the villagers deal with on a
daily basis. We see the political, social, religious, educational and economic challenges these people
face and how they try to survive—the ways in which they deal with the ups and downs of everyday
life in a village where things are quickly changing.
Ma William and Her Circle of Friends is also the
story of a woman around whom many situations revolve. She has to try to remain level-headed while
dealing with her own emotions and crises: her wavering political decisions; the death of her mother;
the distrust of her fellow villagers; and the uncertainty that surrounds her family as her daughter
heads off to college in a foreign—and communist—country.
Ma William and Her Circle of Friends is a
snapshot of life in Dominica and the Caribbean at large as its people adapt to the constant and rapid
changes that engulf them

Giftus John’s Ma William and Her Circle of Friends recreates the idyllic life in the village of St.
Joseph (Senjo) with a shopkeeper, Ma William, at its center. Her shop is a mecca of sorts; one
where the villagers assemble to discuss the issues that impact their lives. … The village is
slowly changing as a result of external forces. The reader is left to wonder if these changes are
for the better. Written with great sensitivity and attention to local speech rhythms, Giftus
John’s most recent work recreates a life that is slowly witnessing its demise. This book
confirms John’s reputation as one of Dominica’s finest writers.
Justice Dr. Irving W. André
Provincial Judge
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

I have been reading the works of Giftus John for several years now. I have always found that
his poems and short stories transcend Dominican life and culture and actually recount tales of
Caribbean people in general whether they still reside in the Caribbean or “overseas.” Ma
William and Her Circle of Friends is not different. In this collection of short stories, Giftus
presents an exposé of Caribbean culture that resonates with every Caribbean person or person
of Caribbean ancestry. This is a must-read for people of the Caribbean and those who love the
Caribbean or want an education in Caribbean culture.
Vaughn E. James Ph.D.
Judge Robert H Bean Professor of Law and Director, Tax Clinic
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas

Anyone who grew up in St. Joseph in the 1980s will identify with the events and personalities
who make up this colourful and lively production. As I read, I see faces, I see places. This is
the work of someone who has embedded in his memory even the very minor details of the
life of a village which appears to have changed but really stills holds on to a lot of its history
and culture. Ma William and Her Circle of Friends are still very much alive in St. Joseph and in
Dominica, today.
Johanna Bertrand.
Former Teacher-Convent High School and Lecturer-Sixth Form College
Roseau, Dominica
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Ma William and Her Circle of Friends