Barbadian Literary icon to headline St. Martin Book Fair 2012: George Lamming to remember the late Dr. Walter Rodney

The 10th annual St. Martin Book Fair, with “Forward…” as its theme, will run from 31 May to 2 June 2012, at Belair Community Center, USM, Marigot Public Library, schools and other venues throughout the island, said Shujah Reiph, coordinator of the book fair.

Some 14 visiting authors and artists will participate in the “book fair for the entire family,” said Reiph.

Among the famous and fast-rising writers coming to St. Martin will be the illustrious Caribbean novelist/thinker George Lamming, from Barbados. He will head up the book fair’s Presidents’ Forum at USM on June 2.

George Lamming (bespectacled), novelist, poet, essayist, short story writer, orator {FILE IMAGE - UWI} Lamming’s unique presentation and conversation with the audience will focus on the late Dr. Walter Rodney, the legendary historian and political activist who was assassinated in Guyana in 1980. Copies of Rodney’s classic How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, will be available at the book fair, said Reiph.

Also confirmed for the St. Martin Book Fair is novelist, playwright, performer, poet, attorney Wena Poon from Singapore. Her books include Lions in Winter, The Biophilia Omnibus, and Alex y Robert, which has been serialized in London by BBC Radio 4.

Poon has won literary awards in the UK, France, and Singapore for her writings. The subjects of her books range from the Chinese diaspora, modern tales about “a serious English banker, a sexy Taiwanese ingenue, and a dapper Hong Kong leading man,” to bull fighting in Spain by an American woman, and a science fiction series, described as “an absorbing video game with a love story embedded in it.” (Quest Quest Magazine)

But we see the St. Martin Book Fair as a way of introducing Wena Poon to the Caribbean,” said Reiph.

Wena Poon, award-winning novelist, poet, playwright from Singapore. (Courtesy WP) The fact that the Harvard-trained lawyer speaks English, French and numerous Chinese languages, and that French and Chinese are sometimes used in her English-language fiction, puts her right up the St. Martin multilingual neighborhood, said Reiph.

Poon’s workshop at the St. Martin Book Fair is called, “Books Are Boring! Rethinking the Art of Consuming & Creating Fictional Narrative.” The workshop is scheduled for June 2, at USM.

On Saturday, June 2, the university campus is the home of the main exhibition of books, multimedia tools, children’s games and storytelling, workshops, and symposia.

The all-day Saturday fare also includes a St. Martin film screening and discussion with the director and actors; and a cooking and homemade ice cream-making demonstration by new Caribbean vegan cookbook author Taymer Mason.

However, before the rush on Saturday, there is Friday. On June 1, the Yacht Club Restaurant, at Fort Louis Marina on the Marigot Waterfront, will host the annual literary evening of the St. Martin Book Fair.

About 11 authors from countries and territories such as Haiti, Antigua, Barbados, USA, Italy, Singapore, and Martinique, will treat the audience to “some really great selections” from their original poetry and fiction, said Reiph.

As a 10th anniversary feature, two promising young St. Martin writers that are working on their first manuscripts will read at the evening concert of words. “Usually only writers of published books read at the poetry and fiction recital,” said Reiph.

The Book Fair Committee (BFC) and organizers have been meeting over the last few months to put an exciting anniversary program together. “We are busy ironing out the tough wrinkles. We are working hard to give the St. Martin people and our visitors a world-class St. Martin Book Fair,” said Reiph.

The BFC will coordinate over 20 book fair and pre-book fair activities for the festival, said Reiph. All book fair activities are free for the general public to attend.

Conscious Lyrics Foundation and House of Nehesi Publishers, both NGOs, organize the St. Martin Book Fair, in collaboration with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the University of St. Martin.

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