This morning, at a press conference at the National Library in downtown Port of Spain, the festival organisers released the full 2011 programme of readings, performances, panels and discussions, workshops, film screenings, and children’s events. There will be over fifty events in the inaugural Bocas Lit Fest, and nearly as many writers and other participants (with a few more names still to come, as we fine-tune the programme).
The inaugural festival celebrates literature in many forms and from many points of view. At the heart of the programme are a series of readings by some of Trinidad and Tobago’s and the Caribbean’s finest writers of fiction and poetry. In each session, writers will read from their recent books, discuss their work, motivations, and writing habits, and answer questions from the audience. There will also be daily performance poetry and open mic sessions (curated by Gillian Moor of Songshine and Muhammad Muwakil), and a Friday night poetry crawl, bringing poets and audiences together in some of Port of Spain’s most popular nightspots.
The readings series also includes a special focus on talented emerging writers. Every year, the Bocas Lit Fest New Talent Showcase will select three exceptionally talented writers who are yet to publish their first book, and give them a platform to share their work and engage with a larger audience. Find out who our 2011 New Talent Showcase writers are here.
But literature doesn’t just mean fiction and poems — it’s also about ideas, questions, and debates, and using the tools of reading and writing to understand the world. The Bocas Lit Fest programme includes a series of panels and talks on topics ranging from current affairs to questions of the ages, led by some of our sharpest writer-thinkers.
For budding writers, we have lined up a series of lively, informative, practical workshops, covering basics of writing like plot, character, and language; an introduction to writing poetry and writing for the stage; sessions on song lyrics and robber talk; even a book reviewing workshop, and a “how to workshop” workshop, explaining how to critique your own work in a group setting.
For younger readers, there’s a whole festival-within-a-festival. The Republic Bank / KFC Children’s Bocas Lit Fest includes storytelling, appearances by children’s authors, a drama workshop, and more.
Plus screenings of films based on Caribbean literary classics and live musical performances! Books by all Bocas authors will be on sale from our participating booksellers, and there’ll be opportunities to get books signed and meet your favourite writers.
All events in the Bocas Lit Fest are free (except the workshops — there’s a modest participation fee for those), and everyone is invited! So mark the dates in your calendar: Thursday 28 April to Sunday 1 May. See you there!