SINT MARTIN (PHILIPSBURG) – The 18th annual St. Martin Book Fair will launch as a free online literary festival on Facebook, June 4 – 6, 2020, said book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph. The festival’s theme is “Genocide.”
The literary festival opens on Thursday, June 4, at 8 PM. Historian and author Dr. Verene Shepherd will deliver the keynote address, live from Jamaica, on the Facebook page of St. Martin Book Fair, at www.facebook.com/stmartin.bookfair.
From the Zoom platform, managed by Computech in Marigot, Dr. Shepherd will speak to Internet audiences on acts and consequences of “post-Columbian” genocide against the native peoples of the Caribbean region, said Reiph.
Dr. Shepherd, who is also an international human rights advocate, will discuss related laws, policies, and tensions that have brought Caribbean peoples to the brink or threat of, or to actual starvation, “race riots,” ethnic cleansing, and invasions, said Reiph.
Chief Lorenzo Sandford of the Kalinago People of Dominica will perform the ribbon cutting ceremony to declare the St. Martin Book Fair open; and welcoming 34 invited authors and presenters, said Reiph.
Original live music by Lili Forbes; a St. Martin businesswoman discussing home-gardening in lockdown; poets reading live from Martinique to Denmark to the USA; roundtable discussions on homeschooling and the legacy of literary titan Kamau Brathwaite; and IT specialist Jean Arnell on the “Digital Transformation Imperative in the Caribbean,” are on the book fair program.
There will be calypso writing and filmmaking workshops; a master class on creative writing and on journalism; and storytelling in the virtual Children’s Room, for the whole family to view at home from the TV or computer or on the cellphone.
“The book fair promotion is already on Facebook and other social media blast,” said Reiph. The full program, featuring writers and scholars from St. Martin to Ireland to Canada, can be downloaded from HNP’s website at https://bit.ly/2z3bs9O.
Lifestyle coach Erna-Mae Francis-Cotton is this year’s representative of St. Martin writers. Among the guest authors that will join Francis-Cotton for “Interviews and Presentations of New Books” on Friday, are: Richard Georges, Bocas award poet, Virgin Islands; Ashanti Dinah Orozco Herrera, poet, activist, university lecturer, Colombia; Dannabang Kuwabong, poet, professor, Ghana; Karen Lord, science fiction novelist, Barbados; Rafael Nino Féliz, poet, academic, Dominican Republic; and Camille Wardrop Alleyne, rocket engineer, space scientist, USA.
A highlight of the St. Martin Book Fair on Saturday, June 6, is The Presidents Forum. “The World of Genocide in the Caribbean” is the symposium title. The panelists are Dr. Adrian Fraser, Vincentian scholar, and Hon. Cozier Frederick, Dominica’s Minister for Environment, Rural Modernisation and Kalinago Upliftment. Dr. Antonio Carmona Báez, author and president of the University of St. Martin, will moderate.
The annual Literary Evening moved from Friday to Saturday, starting at 8 PM, for the virtual edition of the book fair, said Reiph. The poets and novelists taking part in the live multilingual readings are Fabian Badejo (St. Martin); Steen Andersen (Denmark); Stéphanie Melyon-Reinette (Guadeloupe); Yvonne Weekes (Montserrat/Barbados); Max Rippon (Marie-Galante); Doris Dumabin (Guadeloupe); A-dZiko Simba Gegele (Jamaica); Jeannine Hall Gailey (USA); Sean Taegar (Belize); Nicole Cage (Martinique); Sonia Williams (Barbados); Vladimir Lucien (St. Lucia), and Fola Gadet (Guadeloupe/Martinique).
Conscious Lyrics Foundation is the organizer of the 18th annual St. Martin Book Fair, in collaboration with the University of St. Martin and Computech, and in consultation with House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) https://bit.ly/2z3bs9O.
Poster of guest writers at St. Martin Book Fair, live and free on Facebook, June 4 – 6, 2020.