The return of the Book Fair to the annual Crop-Over Read-In event could very well serve as a catalyst to help develop the literary arts in the island.
At least that is what organisers, the National Cultural Foundation are finding is happening as it put out feelers earlier this year to attract writers to the event.
Producer, Ayesha Gibson-Gill said they had begun seeking out published local authors since February, and while the process was not an easy one, what they found was that a large number of writers were publishing blogs and other online resource materials.
Wanting to introduce the book fair element to the July 21 event, Gibson-Gill said in recent years there had been a lot more spoken work and performing arts introduced, something they wanted to add to this year with books.
“The challenge actually came because all of the people I could contact on the Internet were unpublished physically. They were digitally published, and not like an e-book, but like a blog… This is a new frontier we are dealing with. So they were the people who the response was first and the quickest, and I said you have to be able to sell it at the book fair. I can’t accommodate you at this time and the irony is that the people who were published are those who check their emails once or twice a week,” she said, adding that she was able to call on several persons for assistance.
She added that while they would monitor this year’s event to be held at Foursquare Rum Distillery and Heritage Park, they were hoping the book fair could be an annual thing.
“Idealistically the book fair is something we would like to keep, especially as we would like to keep our sponsors who are book sellers; but I really operate on a monitoring and evaluation basis. So when I see what happens this year and when I get my feedback, I will know whether or not perhaps it needs to stand on its own or what.”
Additionally, however, she noted that a lot of the younger people who were publishing blogs, were not encouraged to move further.
“What this has done… is catalysing them to formalise their material. So if at the end of day they decide I am not going to publish a book, it is not worth the monetary investment, but they publish digitally, then it will be the Crop-Over Read-In and Book Fair and laptop on a table… They can give me all of their fliers and that is what we can do, but developmentally it is working really well that way…,” she said adding that they had received interested enquiries about such new work from Brazil.
The event, under the theme Three Sides to Every Story, will feature storytellers and guest griots, along with the launching of Robert Sandiford’s new book And Sometimes They Fly, along with a soft launch of the NCF’s own NIFCA Anthology. (LB)