Audrey Jean McLaren was born in St. Thomas, Jamaica. She however, grew up in a small community called Duhaney Park, which is on the border of St. Andrew and St. Catherine. She attended Pembroke Hall Secondary School, Shortwood Teachers’ College and the University of the West Indies where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in History, and a Master of Arts in Heritage Studies.
Audrey has been teaching since 1986. While in Jamaica, she taught Art and Social Studies for 3 years at Norman Manley High School, and History and Civics for 11 years at Immaculate Conception High School. She migrated to Canada in 2000. Since then, she has taught at both the elementary and the secondary levels. Currently, she teaches History and English at a Toronto high school.
One of Audrey’s earliest hobbies involves poetry. At an early age, she fell in love with, not only nursery rhymes, but also the freedom to explore the imaginary worlds of the poems. While in primary school, she started writing poetry as an outlet for what she terms, her frustration with the contradictions and discriminations of society. These poems she quickly destroyed out of fear of being punished for what she wrote.
She became serious about her poems in 1979 and started saving a few of them. She published her first collection of poems, Bareface Pickney in 1999 (Jamaica). A revised edition was published in Canada in 2006. This was followed by I am the Djembe, which was published in 2007.
Poetry is the wheels on which Audrey travels. It is the eyes through which she writes and the tongue with which she savours. This explains why she weaves poetry into whatever she teaches; and why her students are always encouraged to experience and experiment with the flavours of poetry. In recognition of her students’ talents, she edited and published some of their work in 2006 in an anthology entitled, The Power of Words.
Books in Print
McLaren, Audrey Jean
Bareface Pickney: An Anthology of Poems (Cultural Waves 2006) ISBN: 976-8138-95-5, $9.40
I am the Djembe (Cultural Waves 2007) ISBN: 0-9781851-0-2, $14.00
The Power of Words (ed.) ISBN: 0-9781857-0-6, $9.40
Audrey Jean McLaren, P.O. Box 66117, 1355 Kingston Road, Pickering, ON, Canada, L1V 6P7