Professor Henry FraserArchitecural Historian / Heritage Consultant
Chairman, Sentinel Committee, Barbados National Trust
Writer, TV Presenter, National Orator & Motivational Speaker
Professor Emertius, Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology.
Immediate Past Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences.
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.


It is not my deeds that I write down, it is myself, my essence.”  (Michel de Montaigne, French philosopher and essayist, 1533-92)

Beyond my Wildest Dreams”, by Dr. Ken Harewood, distinguished retired Barbadian scientist, should be on school booklists, and displayed in every library. It is a book of dreams and truths, memories and meditation, goals and achievements. It can be an inspiration for every young Barbadian.

Dr. Ken Harewood is a product of the Republic of St. John and neighbouring parts of St. Philip; of the Lodge School; and of a family that understood the importance of family and family values. His memoir validates the statement attributed to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, that Barbados punches above its weight. Ken is one of those Barbadians whose success at the highest levels of scientific research and academia have enriched the reputation of Barbados in the world of science and academia.

At the Lodge, he was a football star – no, a football wizard -  and what he lacked in height he more than made up for in speed and artistry, dancing down the defence of the “Institution on Crumpton Street” – like Mohammed Ali - dancing like a butterfly, stinging like a bee.  
He proceeded to New York University, with the help of his family, for a bachelor’s degree in biology, where he shone in soccer, dazzling everyone, just as he had at home; and to City University of New York for his masters and doctorate in biochemistry.  After post-doctoral training at the New York Blood Centre he joined the Central Research Division of Pfizer as a member of the Cancer Research Department.

He has established an international reputation for his contribution to cancer biology and cancer drug discovery, conducted pioneering work in virology, cloning and molecular biology, leading to discovery of novel drugs for treating cancer.  He has published numerous scientific papers, raised more than forty million US dollars in research funding, and as a result served on many Boards, including the prestigious Board of Governors of the Research Triangle Institute, and Hunter College’s Gene Center.

He has served as Glaxo Smith Kline Distinguished Professor, Director of the North Carolina Central University’s Julius L. Chambers Biomedical / Biotechnology Research Institute, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University.

His work has been recognized with numerous honours and awards, including the Harlem YMCA Black Achievers in Industry Award, the National Consortium for Black Professional Development Health Sciences Award, the North Carolina Central University Chancellor’s Merit Award and the University of North Carolina top award, the Oliver Max Award, in 2006, and the Gold Crown of Merit of Barbados.

I was absolutely thrilled to read Ken’s “memoir”. But it really is more than the modest memoir the subtitle suggests: it’s a “three in one” – a memoir of childhood, an inspirational account of family strengths, and an autobiographical account of an exciting, groundbreaking scientific career.

The American writer Gore Vidal, in his own memoir Palimpsest, writes that “a memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.  It is more about what can be gleaned from a section of one’s life than about the outcome of the life as a whole.”

So Ken’s beautiful book is both a memoir and an autobiography. And the beautiful cover is his own inspired photo-collage of his favourite place, Codrington College, his portrait and what one might call the portrait of a gene.

In his introduction Ken writes: “One of my reasons for wanting to broaden the focus of my book had a lot to do with the stark reality that, to my knowledge, there are no publications that capture what life was like in rural St. John during the time when the tiny island of Barbados was transitioning from being a British colony to an independent nation state.

I was also mindful that very little had been recorded anywhere about the history of the black families that resided in the cluster of small communities that exist in the shadow of one of Barbados’ major landmarks – Codrington College. I thought that my book could fill that void.” And it most certainly does fill that void.

As a youngster who grew up in St. John, I particularly enjoyed Ken’s memories of childhood – climbing trees, flying kites, bathing at Bath beach … there was a particular way of running through the  cane fields with bare feet when flying your kite.  You had to land on the ridge between the cane holes – if you missed and stepped on the cut ratoons, you could be badly hurt! All of this came back to me with Ken’s stories.

But Ken’s account of the excitement of his research, the challenges of being a minority among the scientific elite of the research frontiers in the USA, and the joys of a happy marriage, is all good reading, and should be an inspiration to all.

Do buy the book and share in this wonderful family affair, scientific triumph, memoir and memorable autobiography ….It’s available at the University Book Shop, Cave Hill, or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble on the web.

Henry Fraser Historic Houses Of Barbados Book CoverHistoric Houses of Barbados
Written by Henry Fraser & Ronnie Huges.
Available at all book leading book stores in Barbados.

Henry Fraser Treasures Of Barbados Book CoverTreasures of Barbados
Written by Sir George Alleyne and edited by Henry Fraser.
Available at the UWI Bookshop the publishers.

Henry Fraser Chattle House Book CoverBarbados Chattel Houses
Written by Henry Fraser and Bob Kiss.
Available at all leading book stores.

Henry Fraser A-Z Barbados Book CoverA-Z of Barbados Heritage
Written by Sean Carrington, Henry Fraser, John Gilmore and Addington Forde.
Available at Days Bookstore Barbados and

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