Wednesday, June 11, 2014

WORD! A Caribbean Thing

Book Display at WORD!
It seems that every day we recognise something, children, women, Mother Earth, technology, oceans, and so on. It turns out that someone or group has designated June as Caribbean Heritage month, and as a result, there have been a number of literary events marking this. Foreigners tend to associate the Caribbean with sun, sea, sand, reggae, and soca, but West Indians are prolific writers, one of the most celebrated being nobel prize winning Derek Walcott, OBE OCC.

This weekend I attended WORD! A Caribbean Book Fest, a small literary fest held at the Medgar Evers College at CUNY, It got off to a rocky start with the organisers shuffling the schedule to cover for people who showed up late or not at all. I sat on a panel with Jamaican children's author Kellie Magnus, a representative from the publishing house Akashic, and one other author. The attendance was sparse when the panel finally started, but by the end, the room, was packed, standing room only although chairs were added. The attendees of this panel were primarily writers, as eager to get tips on publishing and marketing as we were to impart them.

The event brought one thing home to me. I really need to get out more. Whether I am wearing my writer's hat or I am performing one of my many other jobs, I work from home, my social interactions primarily via the Internet. I enjoyed meeting other authors and listening to them read their work and talk about their craft. The evening ended with extraordinary poetry performances, new poets and established ones such as Adisa Andwele of Barbados. I left the event with my literary quiver fully armed with new acquaintances, encouragement, ideas, and a determination to be more visible in the world of Caribbean literature.


Liane Spicer said...

How I wish I could have been there, Carol! I hope the festival becomes an annual event and grows into something really special. The region needs this!

Charles Gramlich said...

I always tend to enjoy myself when i do get out, but getting me up and moving is hard work.

Sunny Frazier said...

I was stationed in Puerto Rico for 18 months, fell in love with the Caribbean! My heart, maybe a past life, resides there.