T&T's literary festival heads South next weekend for the NGC Bocas South Central event.Every April for the past three years, during the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Port-of-Spain becomes the heart of Caribbean literature. The National Library and the Old Fire Station are transformed into a festival plaza, buzzing with readers, booksellers, great writers, soon-to-be great writers, famous poets and spoken word artistes, all participants in the Bocas project to energise and promote regional writing.
Next Saturday and Sunday, beginning in San Fernando, where 90 years ago the literary pioneer Samuel Selvon was born, and ending in Chaguanas, the birthplace of VS Naipaul's legendary Mr Biswas, the inaugural NGC Bocas South Central will feature a diverse collection of readings by talented local writers.
T&T Sunday Guardian columnist Angelo Bissessarsingh will host these readings in two bookshops: RIK Services Ltd in Gulf City Mall, La Romaine, and Nigel R Khan Booksellers in Mid Centre Mall, Chaguanas. Light refreshments will be served.Starting at 10.15 am, the opening event at RIK pays tribute to the diversity and rich literary heritage of south Trinidad in a series of readings from classic literature, with guest reading by film and stage actress Susan Hannays-Abraham.
Some of the country's best spoken word artists from the popular 2 Cents Movement will enliven the Gulf City Mall atrium with a heated lunchtime jam session before the programme moves to its afternoon venue, Nigel R Khan Booksellers in Mid Centre Mall at 3 pm.
There, the finale will feature the work of our own Nobel Laureate, read by his sister Savi Naipaul Akal, and Prof Ken Ramchand will read from Sam Selvon. A showcase of new, upcoming local poets, including the T&T Guardian's Sunday Arts Section writer Shivanee Ramlochan, is also on the bill.Well known writers such as Earl Lovelace and Michael Anthony will share the stage with the future stars of local literature, the likes of 2013 Commonwealth Prize winner Sharon Millar, Vashti Bowlah, K Jared Hosein and many more.
All readings are free and open to the public, and the writers will be available to answer audience questions and sign books.The second day of Bocas South Central on November 17, will focus on emerging writing talent with a series of writing workshops in fiction, as well as a life writing/ non-fiction with T&T Guardian editor-in-chief Judy Raymond.There will also be a fiction-writing workshop specifically for young aspiring writers aged 14 to 17 with the T&T Guardian's Lisa Allen-Agostini.
All workshops will be held at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts in collaboration with UTT. The South Central literary festival is sponsored by NGC.
To view the festival programme and to register for writing workshops visit www.bocaslitfest.com, e-mail in[email protected]caslitfest.com or phone 222-7099.