SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – When a group of young people make arrangements months ahead to secure seats for a book presentation at the St. Martin Book Fair, you know something exciting is coming.
That’s what happened when one of the island’s largest book clubs contacted Shujah Reiph early in 2019 about the workshop for Plastered in Pretty by N.C Marks, said Reiph, coordinator of the island-wide literary festival.
The recent praise from Alice Walker for Plastered in Pretty, a dystopian novel, is only adding excitement for a book that will splash down here with its Vincentian author Natasha “N.C.” Marks at the 17th annual St. Martin Book Fair, June 6 – 8, 2019.
All book fair activities are free to the public and Marks will read “a teaser” from her new book at the Opening Ceremony of the festival on Thursday, said Reiph.
But it’s at the Plastered in Pretty presentation on Saturday, at the University of St. Martin (USM), “where the curious, aspiring writers, and book lovers will get the real juice from this book, about the scandalous lifestyles of the digital and social media generation in the Caribbean,” said, Jacqueline Sample. Sample is the president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), the book’s publisher.
In keeping with the multilingual feature of the St. Martin Book Fair and the island’s culture, the younger generation is also in for a treat, said Reiph. The newest book for the nation’s children is St. Maarten Strong by Heddrick McBride, and it will be introduced at the festival by its USA author.
“I’m excited to be participating with great authors from all over the world at this year’s St Martin Book Fair. I have a special book to present to the children of St. Maarten. The book will be available in English and French,” said McBride.
McBride is one of the visiting and St. Martin authors that will be going to schools, conducting workshops, launching books, and taking part in discussions and literary recitals at different locations throughout the island.
The St. Martin Book Fair opening ceremony alternates each year between both capitals or various districts of the island, “as a symbol of the traditional unity of the St. Martin people,” said Reiph.
This year the festival opens in Marigot, “Under the Literary Big Tent” at Lazy Bay fair grounds (parking lot), said Reiph.
The USM campus in Philipsburg, is the home of the main book fair day of exhibitions, workshops, the Children’s Room, discussions, book buying and signings, and meeting authors, “on Saturday, June 8, from 9 AM to 3:30 PM,” said Reiph.
“All of the people of our beautiful island are invited and will find a warm welcome at the activities of the St. Martin Book Fair,” said Reiph.
The 17th annual St. Martin Book Fair, June 6 – 8, 2019, is organized by Conscious Lyrics Foundation in collaboration with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, University of St. Martin, LC Fleming Foundation, Motorworld, NAGICO, and SOS Radio 95.9 FM.
N.C. Marks, author of the novel Plastered in Pretty, arriving from St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the 17th edition of St. Martin Book Fair, June 6 – 8, 2019. (NCM photo)