The inaugural Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair (VI Lit Fest) will be held from March 26 through 29, with a number of events highlighting literacy, local authors and world literature. Several authors will be featured, including famed Caribbean author Jamaica Kincaid; award-winning V.I. author Tiphanie Yanique; and Jeffrey Perry, author and biographer of legendary Crucian writer/activist Hubert Harrison.
This year’s theme, "Embracing Literacy for Life," will be present throughout the fair, particularly on opening day when featured writers will visit the local prison and schools to discuss their work and the importance of literacy. School children will be invited to attend various events throughout the fair so they can participate in workshops and interact with authors.
"The VI Lit Fest was conceived in literacy and will make a powerful difference in education and in lives in the Virgin Islands because the ‘pen is mightier than the sword,’ as stated by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. You can’t afford to miss this experience," said Valerie Combie, UVI English professor and chair of the VI Lit Fest Committee.
One of the local authors featured at the VI Lit Fest will be Tiphanie Yanique, St. Thomas-born fiction writer and winner of the 2014 Flaherty-Duncan First Novel Prize for her novel "Land of Love and Drowning." Her award-winning book chronicles the saga of a St. Thomas family through three generations from 1916 to 1970, and has been described as "a love letter to the Virgin Islands, both the land and spirit of the place," in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Famed, Antiguan-born novelist Jamaica Kincaid will make a featured presentation during the VI Lit Fest. Kincaid has been described as "the most important West Indian woman writing today," by Frank Birbalisingh. Her mostly autobiographical work highlights the pressures of poverty, post colonialism, and modern race and gender issues.
The event also will feature several events highlighting the historic Crucian writer and activist Hubert Harrison. Saturday evening there will be a performance of David Edgecombe’s play "Hubert Harrison." Harrison’s biographer, Jeffery Perry, will deliver a keynote address and conduct a presentation discussing his own work uncovering Harrison’s writings and documenting his life in his book "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press). Perry also is editor of "A Hubert Harrison Reader" (Wesleyan University Press).
"After working over 30 years on the biography and personal papers of the extraordinary, St. Croix-born, intellectual/activist Hubert Harrison, I am eagerly looking forward to the Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair. Harrison was a brilliant orator, writer, book reviewer, literary critic, editor, bibliophile and library popularizer, significantly influenced by his Crucian roots. The Festival and Book Fair events should
On Thursday, March 26, there will be a meet-and-greet reception for authors, sponsors, organizers and guests. There will be a dance interpretation of Marvin Williams’ "Heirs" by the Caribbean Dance Company, music by the UVI Steel Band Ensemble, and a film debut of "The Skin," which was written and produced by Howard Allen.
The fair officially opens to the public on Friday, March 27, with welcoming remarks and guest speakers, author readings, presentations and an author/ publisher Q & A. Speakers, workshops and panel discussions will continue on Saturday, March 28. There will also be a Book Bacchanal, featuring cultural performances and book signings, and a Poetry Slam in the evening. To sign up to participate in the Poetry Slam, contribute spoken word, freestyle or prepared raps, contact us or fill out the contact form on the Web site. www.vilitfest.wordpress.com
Participants will be treated to a literary island tour on Sunday, March 29, led by National Park Superintendent Joel Tutein. The tour begins in Christiansted Historic District and ends at Frederiksted Fort. Be prepared to write along the way.
Full admission to the fair is $180, which includes Thursday night’s reception and meet-and-greet with the writers. Exhibition booths for the book fair are $100. General admission to daytime activities on Friday is $5. People can register and pay online: www.vilitfest.wordpress.com
The Literary Festival and Book Fair Committee is still seeking volunteers and donations (large and small) to support the event, to host presenters and to publicize the event in local, national and global media. Donate online: www.vilitfest.wordpress.com
"If you support literacy and recognize the importance of highlighting literature in inspiring a love of reading, then you should support this event in whatever way you can. The Virgin Islands and the Caribbean have an enlightening literary narrative to share with the world. Come be a part of the celebration!" said Alscess Lewis-Brown, editor of The Caribbean Writer and chair of the VI Lit Fest Program Subcommittee.
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