by Shivanee Ramlochan, 2013 NGC Bocas Lit Fest Blogger.

The Festival Welcomes of each Bocas Lit Fest have been spectacularly well-attended since their inception in 2011, and this year continued (and deepened) that trend admirably: attendees were fairly spilling out of the Old Fire Station on April 25th, including a generous cross-section of our programme writers. Media mavens flocked near the podium, where Festival Director and Bocas foundress Marina Salandy-Brown beamingly introduced the first official event of the four-day carnival of literary festivities: Writers vs. Politicians, a series of political portraits read by prominent local figures, each of them compelling orators in their own right.

Former politician and current actor, Ralph Maraj, who read from John Hearne
Former politician and current actor, Ralph Maraj, who read from John Hearne’s Voices Under the Window.

In addition to Maraj’s spirited rendition, the other political-fiction offerings included:

  • Parliamentarian Paula Gopee-Scoon, reading from Monique Roffey’s The White Woman on the Green Bicycle
  • Attorney and columnist Martin Daly, reading from Austin Clarke’s The Prime Minister
  • Journalist and Trinidad and Tobago Review editor Sunity Maharaj, reading from Pauline Melville’s “I Don’t Take Messages from Dead People”
[L-R] Sunity Maharaj; Martin Daly; Paula Gopee-Scoon and Marina Salandy-Brown enjoying a moment after the spirited readings conclude.

This slate of thought-titillating fictive material, brought to strident life in the voices of some of our favourite local luminaries, pre-set the stage for Sunday’s Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference panel on “Should Literature be Political?”, which unsurprisingly turned out to be another jam-packed Old Fire Station session, where the eyes of the literary world were anchored firmly on Bocas’s EWWC voices!

Photographs by Maria Nunes, Official Festival Photographer.

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