Festivals and the Writing Life

“There are over a dozen Caribbean or Caribbean-Americans in this book fair,” beamed E. Wayne McDonald, artistic director of the Caribbean Cultural Theatre, as he finished up his conversation with Jamaican author Diana McCaulay outside of Brooklyn Borough Hall.

On this bright and inviting Sunday, the eighth annual Brooklyn Book Festival chalked up another extraordinarily successful run.” Read more.

The Brooklyn Book Festival: I was just reading the article quoted above and it left me feeling all kinds of bummed I haven’t been able to make it to this festival…yet; and, frankly, every festival in the region. Call me greedy.

I had good experiences at ones in Antigua, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Suriname, Canada; I almost made it to the ones in Bim and St. Maarten…but almost doesn’t count…as I’m reminded when I think somewhat bitterly of the one in Miami (no not that one) I fell short of being able to attend even after locking in an invite and a reading slot. And then there’s the time, I tried to raise interest in and support from the powers that be for the idea of sponsoring a contingent of Antiguan and Barbudan writers to the one in Havana – epic fail – and not a major surprise; but I had to try.

With these festivals, if the festival or a patron isn’t picking up some or all of the cost, there’s the getting booked, the getting there, the accomodations, the loss of productive time, the trying to get booked so you can get some exposure for your books out of it and, from that, hopefully some sales, the trying to make sure the books are there at all…but what I always enjoy is just soaking up the atmosphere, moving among other writers, connecting (not to be confused with making connections), and being in a space where books and stories and writers aren’t an afterthought but the very point of the experience. I’m honestly not the best at peddling the books or even talking them up but if I get to do a panel or a reading and do well, the hope and the payoff is that I don’t have to make that hard sell. And either way, I just love the experience. And though I’m often the only person there from Antigua, I take some pride in the fact that Antigua and Barbuda is there and do my best to represent. I wish I could be invited to or, failing that, raise the capital to go to all of these festivals. I continue to work on producing work, raising capital, and making connections that will in time make that more than a wish, and not just for the festivals in or about the Caribbean. A girl can dream.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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