The Bocas Lit Fest and the Adult Literacy Tutors Association (ALTA) have launched a new initiative to promote literacy through literature in a special series of readings by local authors.
Some of Trinidad and Tobago’s best writers are visiting adult literacy classes to read from their books and to talk to literacy students about the books that have inspired them, their love of reading, and what has influenced their own writing.
These visits by local writers aim to encourage new and struggling readers to appreciate reading for pleasure and to better understand and embrace the world of literature and fiction.
The first series of readings was held in November 2014, and included the distinguished literary veteran Michael Anthony, whose work has indoctrinated many into the world of literature, and Barbara Jenkins (representing The PALM Foundation, set up to promote Pat Bishop’s legacy). Lisa Allen-Agostini, Lyndon Baptiste, Vashti Bowlah, Kevin Jared Hosein (winner of the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize), and Michael Cozier (shortlisted for the 2015 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature) also took part in the initiative.
The second series introduces ALTA students to seven local authors of diverse literary genres, from historical fiction and contemporary short stories, to science fiction/ fantasy novels. The readings will happen throughout the month of June at ALTA classes around the country, including Belmont, Port of Spain, St. James, San Juan, Arima, Sangre Grande and San Fernando.
The 2015 author line-up features Vaughn T. Stanford (Tales from Mysteria, 2014), Rhoda Bharath (The Ten Days Executive, 2015), RSA Garcia (Lex Talionis, 2014), Vanessa Salazar (Selima and the Merfolk, 2014), David Robert Gomez (Behind the Narrow Street, 2014), Sharon Millar (The Whale House and Other Stories, 2015) and John O. Stewart (Behryl, 2014).
The push started in 2013 when the Bocas Lit Fest brought acclaimed Caribbean author Oonya Kempadoo to host a creative writing workshop with Level 3 ALTA students. The ongoing partnership between Bocas and ALTA aims to make reading and writing accessible to literacy students, and allow them to discover the joys of reading for entertainment.
For more information on how you can contribute to improving literacy in Trinidad and Tobago, call the Adult Literacy Tutors Association at 624-ALTA or visit www.alta-tt.org.