Over 100 Caribbean and specially-invited non-Caribbean writers will present their work at an unprecedented literary bonanza during Carifesta XIV, 16-25 August.
Carifesta, the Caribbean’s premiere arts and culture festival, has made an open call to all regional authors to read from their published and unpublished work. The response has been staggering, according to the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, organisers of Carifesta XIV literary events. Over a hundred requests to participate flooded the host website within a week. Registration is now closed but this enthusiasm speaks to the rich wealth of stories, essays and poems being produced in the region and bursting to get out. The daily Open Mic sessions, organised in the genres of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and spoken word, run from noon 17-24 August at the festival hub: the Grand Market in the Queens Park Savannah, in the Carifesta Book Fair tent.
The Open Mic will interweave with themed readings by leading regional writers and local book giants, including Michael Anthony, Willi Chen, Paul Keens Douglas and Earl Lovelace; all of them will be presenting new work to a diverse Caribbean audience. Among the international stars is Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o of Kenya, the world renowned, multi award-winning writer and Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and English at The University of California at Irvine (UCI).
Ngũgĩ’s fiction, essays and plays are celebrated for challenging authority, interrogating the role of colonialism and highlighting issues of class, culture, religion and modern versus traditional values. His work got him a one-year prison sentence in Kenya in the 1970s and led to Amnesty International adopting him as a prisoner of conscience. Eventually, he fled to the USA, where he has taught at Yale, New York University and UCI.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez the deceased Colombian-Caribbean Nobel Laureate for Literature recognized Jorge Franco Ramos as a younger writer to whom he could pass the literary torch. Franco may be new to English speaking Caribbean readers but he is hailed on the mainland as one of the most promising writers of the new Latin American narrative. His successful novels have been made into popular TV series and award-winning feature films. He, too, makes his Carifesta debut in Thursday Noir on Thursday 22 August.
Headlining evening events at the Book Fair on Saturday 17 at 6pm is renowned Trinidadian writer Earl Lovelace, prizewinning author of short stories and the novels The Dragon Can’t Dance, Salt and Is Just A Movie.