by David Ambrose
Grenadian authors will join their Caribbean counterparts in the region and the wider diaspora to celebrate the inaugural Caribbean Literature Day on 12 July.
This celebration comes after a call, proposed at the closing ceremony of the June 2020 St Martin Book Fair by House of Nehesi Publishers, to flood social media platforms with images and video readings of Caribbean publications. The idea is for everyone – writers and aspiring writers; book clubs; institutions; Caribbean media; all lovers of Caribbean writings, authors, and books; all Caribbean peoples – to post favourite author photos; quotes by Caribbean authors; video readings of your own work or the work of your favourite Caribbean author; images of book covers; or images of you with Caribbean authors.
On that date 458 years ago, the first known library of books which was owned by the Maya people of the Yucatán was destroyed by the Spaniards.
With the expected sharing, authors and their fans across the region will be exposed to the wide variety of Caribbean literature that may be available only in their own territory. The Caribbean has produced many award-winning authors including Nobel Laureates Sir VS Naipaul (Trinidad); Sir Arthur Lewis (St Lucia); Sir Derek Walcott (St Lucia) and Saint-John Perse (Guadeloupe).
Worldwide, close to 100 Grenadians have published fiction or non-fiction works buoyed by an explosion in the number of authors of poetry and creative writing on the home front. Despite the absence of a public library in Grenada, the general public can still interact with local authors and access their works at bazaars, expos, and the annual Aunty Tek Spice Word Reading Festival. To date, there is no Grenadian novel on the primary or secondary school English Literature curriculum. However, many Grenadian readers have been calling for a national book fair so that the country could showcase its literary talent to the world.
The theme for this year’s Caribbean Literature Day is Celebrating Caribbean Literature: Roots, Range and Excellence of Writing, and encompasses all language zones of the region. The peoples of the English-speaking Caribbean should include the shared global hashtag #CaribbeanLiteratureDay12July2020 with their postings. In addition to tagging friends, participants are encouraged to tag Caribbean and Caribbean-supporting networks, libraries, organisations, booksellers, publishers, and festivals.
All Grenadians are invited to participate in this celebration!