(THE VOICE) – GARVIN MATTHEWS was born on the island of St.Vincent and the Grenadines and moved to the UK in 2008 in search of a better life for himself and his family as well as to join the British army.
After leaving the army, Matthews completed a degree in business management, where he found his true ‘calling’, writing stories.
The first day at college, my lecturer said, ‘if you want to be successful on this degree course, you need to read and write more than ever before’
Whilst working at Tesco, Matthews went on to complete a creative writing course with Faber academy which led to the birth of his first book: The moment I found you.
By his own admission Matthews struggled to read and write at a proper standard during the years he spent in St.Vincent and Trinidad as a young adult and still when he found his way into the British Amy. His oringinal dream was to be the greatest footballer who ever lived.
As well as wanting to promote his book Matthews told the Voice Online: “I know it’s something trivial considering the Covid 19 pandemic, but I thought it would be a story that would inspire people that it doesn’t matter where your journey starts in life, you could achieve greatness if you keep persevering.”
“Like many other immigrants from the Caribbean, my journey started on the small island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“I grew up with both parents and my brother. As kids growing up, neither my brother nor me understood the abuse my mother had to endure from my father. It was later on in life I understood the sacrifices she had to make for us. When we were both young adults, she mustered all her courage and left my father to find her own happiness, with the man she has been happily married to for 21years.
“My father became unbearable to live with, full of anger and hatred towards his own sons, so I moved to Laventille, an area on the island of Trinidad and Tobago to live with my Grandmother. It was a tough four years living in a foreign country illegally, restricted to what you can do for work, but living there taught me how to preserve and be determined in striving for greatness.
“When I returned St. Vincent, I joined the police force, but I didn’t realise my training was preparing me for the rigorous training that awaited me in the British army. So in 2008, I left the heat and tropical sunshine behind for England. Whilst in the army, I met my ex-partner, who sobered me with her horrific childhood.
“And it was the journey of these two amazing women which led to the birth of The Moment I found you, and what inspired this book to come into being.
“But whilst I was soldering on in the British army, I didn’t have any thoughts of writing a book; my dream was to be the greatest footballer who ever lived. I was never academically inclined, books and reading were not my forte; give me a football, soca, dancehall and reggae music any day. After leaving the army, I realised that once you hit 30, that dream of being a footballer was never going to come true.
“I guess I was still seeking for my father’s validation, even though he wasn’t alive to witness it.
Now I was out of the army, I wanted more out of life than the stereotypical delivery driver and security jobs that were on offer, so I decided to go back to school to further my education.
“The first day at college, my lecturer said, ‘if you want to be successful on this degree course, you need to read and write more than ever before’. Keen to do well, that was exactly what I did. Then I began to read and write, until those stories I had in my head started to come alive; they started to become characters in a bigger plot. At this point, I thought I could become the next Marlon James, Andrea Levy, maybe, the next black Steven King.
“I wish I could go back and laugh at myself, because I still had much to learn if was going to be a professional writer.
“In 2017, the Caribbean man with hardly any academic qualification graduated with a 2.2 lower second class honours degree in Business management with travel and tourism. It was time to find that dream job, which didn’t come.
“I was back in the job I was running from; deliver driver at Tesco. Though I never gave up on my dream to be a novelist. I got onto a renown writing course run by Faber Academy in 2018, where I learnt how to bring my story together. A year and a half after, and I’m happy to say that The Moment I found you is now published.”