The annual Kingston Book Festival, hosted by the Book Industry Association of Jamaica, began last Sunday at the 3rd annual Love Affair with Literature symposium, a joint event put on by the BIAJ and UWI Mona Department of Literature.
The affair was a delightful brunch of poetry and prose, featuring the likes of American-Trinidadian Robert Antoni (who has just launched his new book Like Flies to Whatless Boys), Richard ‘Dingo’ Dingwall (of Poetry Society of Jamaica fame), Kendel Hippolyte of St. Lucia, Monica Minott and the UWI’s own writer-in-residence Dr. Erna Brodber (a grandmotherly dear with a cotton candy puff of white hair whom I had the pleasure of being seated beside).
It was my first love affair and I can tell you it won’t be my last. For a comprehensive review (filled with delectable adjectives), see Tallawah Magazine’s article Verse and Verve.
Festival Chair Kellie Magnus, speaking at Love Affair, announced that this year’s Book Festival activities would be year-long since they have heeded their criticss cries to take the festival around the island. The previously week-long celebration of all things literary usually culminated in the Kingston Book Fair, but the event has now been shifted to take place later in the year.
The calendar of events for this week is already underway and includes activities such as the National Library Open Day (today from 9-4) and a Writer’s Workshop for children and young adult writers delivered by Richard Scrimmer and Diane Brown. The workshop is hosted by a Canadian literacy NGO, CODE, as part of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
The BIAJ also has plans to conduct a National Reader Survey to get an inside look at the literary market – what readers want and they’ll actually purchase. The survey can be tracked at CaribLit.org.