Seven is a lucky number, and we were both lucky and grateful that our enlightened sponsors continued to support the work of Bocas, recognising the value of our work promoting literature; our local and international partnerships continued to multiply also.
The pool of literary talent in T&T and the region has been growing. The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is constantly on the lookout for fresh talent, and finding ways to advance the writing careers of our most promising. As always, the 2017 Festival featured some of these exciting voices and offered opportunities for newcomers to share their work.
We revamped and expanded our Stand and Deliver events, and made them the centrepieces of our programme on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 April. Stand and Deliver, a special open mic event featured writers of all styles and persuasions and gave them the chance to share their work in public along with specially invited feature writers and music too.
Along with the brilliant poetry and fiction featured in the 2017 programme, was a slate of high-leveled, hard-hitting discussions. The festival has always been more than just a festival of literature, but a festival of ideas: an opportunity to debate the state of our country, our region, and our world, through various mediums of expression including books, poems, songs, plays and films, and conversations with some of our boldest thinkers.
2017 put the spotlight on some of the thorniest human rights issues at that time, bringing together writers, activists, politicians and judges who discussed press freedom, criminal justice and prison systems, as well as LGBT rights. We explored how a broader agenda for human rights could be shaped by the specific needs of vulnerable groups in our society.
The programme explored the ideas of two of T&T’s most profound thinkers on politics and society and opened with a series of events reconsidering the legacy of the late C.L.R. James, including readings from his celebrated works, a panel discussing Jame’s impact on T&T, a documentary film and Extempo debate.
Marking the tenth anniversary of the death of visionary thinker Lloyd Best, the closing event featured Best’s insights into the unique predicaments and possibilities of Caribbean civilisation, a theme still highly relevant.
2017 undoubtedly made our patrons think, smile, argue, imagine, read and write and keep coming back for more!