A meet­ing of the cre­ative minds

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By STAR Re­porter

Af­ter see­ing a re­view of his book “Leaves in a River” in last Satur­day’s STAR News­pa­per writer Earl G. Long de­cided to pay the writer a visit. Clau­dia Elei­box, who is em­ployed with the bookYard, was more than sur­prised that Long had taken time out to meet with her. The two spent some time chat­ting and shar­ing ideas at the nearby Yard cafe. An avid reader, Elei­box ex­plains that it is be­yond her why more peo­ple do not de­rive plea­sure from books.

About Long’s ‘Leaves in a River’ Elei­box wrote, “I have to ad­mit, ini­tially I did not ex­pect this book to be so cap­ti­vat­ing but af­ter the first few pages I was com­pletely en­grossed.”

Earl G. Long was born in Saint Lu­cia and stud­ied at the Lon­don School of Hy­giene and Trop­i­cal Medicine. He worked for sev­eral years with the United States Pub­lic Health Ser­vice and lived and worked in Pre­to­ria, South Africa.

He has worked all over the world, most re­cently in the Congo with the US Agency for In­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment. He has pub­lished widely in spe­cial­ist med­i­cal jour­nals and has sev­eral pub­lished nov­els. In 1993 he won the Essence short story com­pe­ti­tion.

In 1990, Dr Earl Long pub­lished the first de­scrip­tion of the trop­i­cal in­testi­nal par­a­site, Cy­clospora cayeta­nen­sis and doc­u­mented its di­ag­nos­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics.

While in the Congo, Dr Long con­ducted re­search on malaria, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, AIDS and gas­troen­terol­ogy. He worked un­der con­di­tions in which there was no ca­ble-trans­mit­ted elec­tric­ity. How­ever, he needed elec­tric­ity to power his mi­cro­scope, which was an in­dis­pens­able tool in his work. With the help of an en­gi­neer, he de­signed the bat­tery-pow­ered “E.A.R.L. light” – the Ex­ter­nal Au­tonomous Re­po­si­tion­able Light­weight light, which be­came a valu­able re­source for field use.

In 1996, Dr Long es­tab­lished col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search and train­ing ac­tiv­i­ties be­tween the Univer­sity of the West Indies School of Medicine, the More­house School of Medicine and the Cen­tres for Dis­ease Con­trol. Since 1998, he has been an Ad­junct Pro­fes­sor at the Col­lege of Al­lied Health of Nova South­east­ern Univer­sity in Fort Laud­erdale, Florida and an Ad­junct Pro­fes­sor of Mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy and Im­munol­ogy at the More­house School of Medicine in At­lanta, Ge­or­gia. He left the CDC in 2004.

Dr Long is also a ded­i­cated fic­tion au­thor, who counts West In­dian au­thors like Vidya Naipaul and Derek Wal­cott as his in­spi­ra­tions. He has writ­ten four nov­els set in the West Indies: Con­so­la­tion, Voices From A Drum, Leaves In A River and Slicer. In his spare time, he en­joys shoot­ing, snorkelling and cook­ing, vis­it­ing mu­se­ums and the movies, and lis­ten­ing to clas­si­cal mu­sic.

Dr Earl Long ad­vises kids that, “The most pow­er­ful tool is lan­guage; it is the eas­i­est way to get what you want.” He adds that, “Without lan­guage you can­not do any­thing or un­der­stand the sci­ences,”

As for ca­reer ad­vice, he notes that, “if you want to get into the sci­ences, it is best to com­bine your stud­ies with non-sci­ence sub­jects to get a real ed­u­ca­tion.” He ad­vises youths to “do some­thing they like and also do some­thing that will make them a liv­ing.”

You can pick up a copy of Earl G. Long’s ‘Leaves in a River’ at the bookYard.

Clau­dia Elei­box, left, dis­cusss­ing books with au­thor Earl G. Long at the Yard.

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