THE VALLEY, Anguilla — The tropical Caribbean island paradise of Anguilla will host the second annual Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification from May 23-26, under the distinguished patronage of Nikki Giovanni, poet and award-winning author.
Joining Giovanni to headline Lit Fest 2013 will be: author Edwidge Danticat of Haiti/Miami; author and Executive VP of Simon and Schuster/Atria Books, Judith Curr; author and MSNBC host, Toure; author and lecturer Gillian Royes of Jamaica/St Croix and Marcel Fahie, Anguillian historian, playwright and author.
Completing this distinguished panel of authors and publishers will be: Amy Berkower, publisher/CEO, Writers’ House; Virginia Fowler, author/professor; Gillian Royes, author; Bob Shacochis, author/travel writer; Lasana Sekou, author/poet publisher, House of Nehesi, of St Maarten; Amanda Steadman, author/lifecoach of USA/St Martin; Sarah Weiss, associate editor, Grand Central/Hachette; Dan Weiss, publisher-at-large, St Martin Press. Also Anguillan authors, Rita Celestine-Carty, author/educator; David Carty, poet/author/playwright; Denise Crawford, self-published author; Vanessa Croft-Thompson, poet; Hyacinth Hughes – poet/winner of the Malliouhana Award 2012; Catrina Llewellyn-Jones, self-published author; Jo-Anne Mason, author/illustrator; and Timmy Webster, poet.
The Anguilla Lit Fest 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. A registration fee of US$150 includes a welcome cocktail party, breakfast and lunch presentations, special sessions with the authors and fun-filled evening soirees. The program includes a free day to ensure that participants will have the opportunity to experience the best of all Anguilla has to offer.
Last year, arrangements were 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. This year, not only will these two events be repeated for the children of Anguilla, but the organizers have also added a special session for children and young writers on the afternoon of Saturday 25th 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 explained the concept of the Jollification as “a getting together of people to share and help neighbors.” 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.”
Speaking about the organization of the Literary Festival, director of tourism Candis Niles noted, “Last year’s event was absolutely wonderful. The ambience, the caliber of presenters, the interaction between successful authors and literary hopefuls, the creative energy and excitement was tangible, and many of the participants left the Festival with a renewed sense of commitment to their gift of self-expression. Now we are about to do it all over again! The Anguilla Lit Fest would not have been possible without the jollification approach.”
“For the support of our partners, sponsors, and the community, the Anguilla Lit Fest Committee and the Anguilla Tourist Board extend our thanks and appreciation,” Niles added.