Writer. Entrepreneur. Actor. Social Activist
Born in Monrovia, Liberia, Lawrelynd Bowin moved to Moscow as a teen and attended Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, also known as RUDN, majoring in Political Science.
In 1999, she took up residence in Vancouver, became a Canadian citizen and graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC), studying ESL and Business Communication.
In 2003, drawn to the arts since childhood, she earned an additional degree from the Vancouver Film School, intending to pursue an acting career whose seeds had been planted in Moscow where, as a fresh face, she received a warm welcome in the entertainment and modelling industries. She appeared on various runways, in commercials and print advertising. Registered with the Red Star Agency, she landed modelling gigs with Ford Models and, to date, working with actor/director Griffin Dunne has been a highlight. Lawrelynd appears in the movie Fierce People alongside the late Anton Yelchin, Donald Sutherland, Diane Lane, Kristen Steward and Chris Evans.
Regarding philanthropic engagement while living in Brussels, Lawrelynd served the NGO GAMS – Belgium http://gams.be/en/who-are-we whose president Dr. Fabienne Richard introduced her to UnCUT/VOICES. For more than twenty years, GAMS has been a major force opposing female genital mutilation.
About Swimming in a Red Sea
In the Preface, Dr. Fabienne Richard writes, Dear Lawrelynd …
“On April 12, 2016, we met for the first time at St. Pierre’s Hospital in Brussels, brought together by my professional engagement in the unit responsible for reconstruction after genital mutilation and offering holistic medical care to excised women. I remember as though it were yesterday. … You appeared in my office weeping and explained that, although you had sworn never to return to Africa, you felt compelled to go to Guinea to visit the tomb of your younger brother Alpha Oumar Bah (AOB) who had died under brutal circumstances in Senegal. When asked why you had wanted to break ties with your family and nation, you told me about the violence you had endured: excision, gang rape in prison where your own father had you locked up at age twelve to break the spirit of the rebellious child in you, the whipping you suffered on release, as though the preceding brutalities hadn’t sufficed. You could have folded, allowing yourself to die, but no, you found the energy and opportunity to flee, far away, to reboot your life, to study, marry, have children and all the while thinking that yes, you’d deleted your past to the point of forgetting the language, the food … you wanted to preserve not a single trace. But your brother’s death restored you to family and origins.”
This autobiographical novel offers a stunning account of patriarchal oppression negotiated by migration and mitigated by the polyglot protagonist’s exemplary strength of character. It belongs on the shelves of Feminist, Women’s, and Gender Studies; African Studies; and Comparative Literature. It makes an innovative contribution to the fledgling field of FGM research and should take its place in syllabi for International Black Women’s Studies.
The book features a Foreword by Dr. Fabienne Richard and an Afterword by Tobe Levin von Gleichen. It also links to research on FGM in Guinea.