St. Martin Book Fair live on Facebook from today | THE DAILY HERALD

Poster of guest writers at St. Martin Book Fair, live and free on Facebook, June 4-6.

Keynote speaker Verene Shepherd.

PHILIPSBURG–The eighteenth annual St. Martin Book Fair will launch as a free online literary festival on Facebook, June 4-6, said book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph. The literary festival is themed “Genocide” and will open today, Thursday, at 8:00pm, with historian and author Verene Shepherd delivering the keynote address live from Jamaica on the Book Fair’s Facebook page

From the Zoom social networking platform, managed by Computech in Marigot, Shepherd will speak to her Internet audience on acts and consequences of “post-Columbian” genocide against the native peoples of the Caribbean region.

Shepherd, who is also an international human rights advocate, will discuss related laws, policies and tensions that have brought Caribbean peoples to the brink 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, welcoming 34 invited authors and presenters, said Reiph.

Live music by Lili Forbes, a businesswoman discussing home-gardening in lockdown, poets reading live from Martinique to Denmark and the United States, roundtable discussions on home-schooling and the legacy of literary titan Kamau Brathwaite, and information-technology specialist Jean Arnell on the “Digital Transformation Imperative in the Caribbean” are all on the Book Fair programme.

There will be calypso writing and filmmaking workshops, a master class on creative writing and journalism, and storytelling in the virtual Children’s Room, for the whole family to view at home on the television, computer or mobile phone.

The full programme, featuring writers and scholars from French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten to Ireland and Canada, can be downloaded from House of Nehesi Publishers’ (HNP’s) website

Lifestyle coach Erna-Mae Francis-Cotton is this year’s representative of local writers. Among guest authors who will join Francis-Cotton for “Interviews and Presentations of New Books” on Friday are Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature winner poet Richard Georges from the British Virgin Islands; poet, activist and university lecturer in Colombia, Ashanti Dinah Orozco Herrera; professor/poet from Ghana, Dannabang Kuwabong; science-fiction novelist in Barbados, Karen Lord; poet/academic from the Dominican Republic, Rafael Nino Féliz; and rocket engineer and space scientist Camille Wardrop Alleyne from the United States.

A highlight of the St. Martin Book Fair on Saturday, June 6, is The Presidents Forum under the symposium title “The World of Genocide in the Caribbean”. The panellists are Dominica’s Minister for Environment, Rural Modernisation and Kalinago Upliftment, Cozier Frederick and historian Adrian Fraser from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Moderator is University of St. Martin (USM) president and author Antonio Carmona Báez.

The annual Literary Evening moved from Friday to Saturday, starting at 8:00pm, for the Book Fair’s virtual edition, said Reiph.

The poets and novelists taking part in the live multilingual readings are Fabian Badejo (St. Maarten), 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 organiser of the 18th annual St. Martin Book Fair, in collaboration with USM and Computech, and in consultation with HNP.

Source: The Daily Herald