Children at the Alliouagana Literary Festival in Montserrat got to meet one of their favourite authors this past week/end in the person of Paul Keens Douglas (seated) whose humour and characters like Tanty and Slim have been making Caribbean people laugh for decades. Also pictured is one of our own, standing back right, Barbara Arrindell who presented papers on ‘Telling Our Stories’, ‘The Art of Public Speaking’, and ‘How Storytelling Fits in to the Customer Service Experience’. Arrindell, a Wadadli Pen partner, author (Antigua My Antigua, The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories), and bookstore owner/manager (the Best of Books) wasn’t the only Antiguan and Barbudan repping in the Emerald Isle; native daughter and Montserrat resident Claytine Nesbitt used the event, per the programme, for the Montserrat launch of her book Life as Josephine. Congrats to them. One last thing, I’ve been fortunate to be invited to a number of Caribbean and some extra-regional literary festivals (though I’ve never been to this one) and some years ago was part of an Antiguan and Barbudan delegation that independently secured Commonwealth Foundation funding to attend the festival in Jamaica. I would like to see more of us being in a position to take advantage of these opportunities – there are marketing and networking opportunities, plus it’s just an opportunity to be in an environment that (under the best circumstances) value what you do – the cost of going and the cost of being there is often prohibitive. So, as I share this image, I’ve got to say that we really need to explore ways to get our writers in to these spaces (CARIFESTA, festivals, other off-island opportunities to showcase lit arts which is part of the cultural output of Antigua and Barbuda) included – yes, artists, yes, private sector support, but also the government needs to support this kind of outreach and help clear the way.
Photo courtesy of Barbara Arrindell, please seek permission before re-using.