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Anguilla's unique festival continues to engage literary aficionados
Published on May 12, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

THE VALLEY, Anguilla -- Anguilla will host the third annual Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification from May 22-25, 2014.

This year’s distinguished panel of authors includes: Bob Shacochis, 2014 Pulitzer Prize Nominee and National Book Award winner (The Woman who Lost her Soul); Bernice McFadden, award-winning author from Brooklyn, New York (Gathering of Waters (2012), Nowhere is a Place (2013); Edward Lewis, author, philanthropist and co-founder and publisher emeritus of Essence Magazine (Man from Essence); Richard Williams, author of Black and White: The Way I See It and father of tennis greats, Venus and Serena Williams; Montague Kobbe (Night of the Rambler); and Lauren Francis-Sharma (Till the Well Runs Dry); poets Ras Takura and A-dZiko Simba of Jamaica; and Ijahnyah Christian, Anguillian poet, author and cultural biographer of the Athlyi Rogers Study Centre in Ethiopia.

Also appearing at this year’s festival will be publishing panelists, including David Daley, editor-in-chief, ; Yona Deshommes, senior publicity manager of Atria Books/Simon & Shuster; Johanna Ingalls, managing editor, Akashic; Audrey Edwards, award-winning journalist, author and former editor of Essence magazine; and Rochelle Ward of House of Nehesi Publishers in St Maarten.

Anguilla’s literary voice will be heard through the presentations of a number of local authors, poets and literary performers, including noted historian, Colville Petty; award-winning playwright and dramatist, Felix Fleming; author, poet and playwright, Marcel Fahie; educator and author, Vivien Vanterpool; reigning Miss Anguilla 2013/2014, Amethyst Davis; Lit-Fest inspired writer and social commentator, Kay Ferguson; author, playwright and poet, Rev. Dr Wycherley Gumbs; and champions of the newest Anguilla children’s book by actress Annie Potts (Kemarley of Anguilla); Trudy Nixon and Renukah Harrigan, as well as many other writers and performance poets from across the island. All books of the featured guest authors, poets and publishers will be available for purchase on site.

The Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification pays homage to Anguilla’s literary heritage and offers yet another great reason for visitors to come to the island during the early summer period for the three-day event.

The program includes a free day to ensure that participants will have the opportunity to experience the best of all Anguilla has to offer. As in previous years, arrangements are being made for a cross-section of students from the primary schools to interact with the visiting authors, and for students from the secondary school to attend the presentation of the event headliner as specially invited guests.

The organizers have also added an afternoon with Richard Williams at the Anguilla Tennis Academy on Wednesday 21 May, and a special session for children and young writers on the afternoon of Saturday 24 May.

The name of the festival speaks to a very important facet of Anguilla’s cultural heritage – The Jollification. Rhona Richardson, a member of the Anguilla Community Foundation explains the concept of the Jollification as “a getting together of people to share and help neighbours.”

This was done through the plowing and planting of ground (fields), all against the backdrop of men working together, women cooking, and children playing, while the work was carried out free of cost, with much laughter, singing and “jollification.”

Noted economist, historian, author and playwright, Marcel Fahie writes that, through the Jollification, “We helped each other with the construction of our homes. Mutual aid and assistance in the form of free labour was also employed to build community facilities, access roads to and from isolated parts of villages, church buildings, community halls and playing fields. The spirit and elements of the jollification survive to this day in various forms. Most notable is the contribution of our time and effort to furthering the programs of our religious and charitable organizations.”

“The Anguilla Lit Fest would not have been possible without the jollification approach,” noted director of tourism, Candis Niles. “The spirit of community upon which Jollification is founded is an integral part of our psyche as Anguillians. It is this spirit of community that defines the interaction with our authors, speakers and presenters. For the short time we are together we form a literary community that is vibrant, dynamic and engaging. Like the Jollification itself, the Lit Fest inspires you to look deep within yourself and discover and give expression to the creative force that lies within each one of us, for in so doing we enrich and enlarge the experiences of all of us.”
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