Director of the 15th annual St. Martin Book Fair, Shujah Reiph (third left) with Book Fair Committee (BFC) members at Cité Scolaire Robert Weinum following the weekly planning meeting at the University of St. Martin on April 15, 2017. (CLF photo)
MARIGOT–The fifteenth Annual St. Martin Book Fair will take place at several venues on the island from June 1–3, 2017, including Cité Scolaire Robert Weinum for the opening ceremony, stated Director of the literary festival Shujah Reiph, on Tuesday. The Book Fair Committee (BFC) coordinates the festival.
Cité Scolaire Robert Weinum in La Savane – the area between Rambaud and Grand Case – will reflect the “art” theme of the anniversary year. The auditorium of the new high school/junior high school complex will be turned into a giant art studio and gallery, Reiph, who is also President of Conscious Lyrics Foundation, disclosed.
“The main exhibition by international artist/author Bruce Clarke is in the works,” he added. “Art students and aspiring artists will also be invited to set up their easels and draw the live scene of book fair guests arriving, socialising, buying books, getting autographs and meeting authors from around the world.”
“St. Martin writers that have published books will be the mantra of the book fair’s 15th birthday bash,” said Jacqueline Sample, President of House of Nehesi Publishers. “From 1988 to when the first St. Martin Book Fair was organised in 2003, barely 10 book authors from St. Martin could be found.
“But 15 years later, from first-time authors like Joselyne Arnell to senior authors like Gerard van Veen, over 30 St. Martin writers that have been published in one or more books can be identified,” Sample added. “At the 2017 book fair a larger than usual number of the island’s authors will conduct workshops, participate in round table discussions and public readings, and visit schools.”
The opening ceremony of the St. Martin Book Fair alternates each year between both parts of the island as a celebration of the historical and cultural unity of the island’s people. The main book fair day takes place at the University of St. Martin, the festival’s campus home since 2003. The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau has been the dedicated and strategic partner of the literary festival since 2004, Sample noted.
“There are a number of other key activities that take the book fair to different districts every year such as visits by authors to schools, to homes for the elderly and the prison, and the popular literary evening of writers from around the world reading from their newest books,” Reiph added.
The closing ceremony highlights the main book launch and presentation of the President’s Award.
Conscious Lyrics Foundation and House of Nehesi Publishers organises the annual St. Martin Book Fair in collaboration with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, University of St. Martin, and LC Fleming Foundation.
Peridot Foundation and SOS Radio are leading sponsors of visits by a selected author and media promotions; and Mr. K Cigar Lounge has become a unique book fair discussion venue for business, social and political leaders of the island.