WORD! A Caribbean Book Fest

With tales for all ages to ignite the imagination on authors and storytellers along with publishers, bookstore owners, readers and the literary curious will come together in Brooklyn, NY – the world’s largest Caribbean meeting place – for a celebration of the magic of the written word.

WORD! – A Caribbean Book Fest, on Sunday, June 8,brings together three dozen of the most talented and dynamic novelists and poets from almost twenty countries and territories in the Caribbean and its diaspora for an afternoon-long carnival of sound and imagery at the Crown Heights campus of Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY.

Now in its second year, WORD! – A Caribbean Book Fest celebrates the oft overlooked rich and complex literary traditions from the region’s cultural landscape.

Presented by the Caribbean Cultural Theatre in association with the Caribbean Research Center at Medgar Evers College, this year’s program boasts a stellar roster of seasoned critically-acclaimed wordsmiths as Trinidadian poet, Mervyn Taylor, and talented newer voices as Idrissa Simmonds, a Canadian national of Haitian and Jamaican parentage, short listed for the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and Joanne Skerrett (Dominica), short listed for the inaugural Burt Award (2014) for Caribbean children’s literature.

“We are especially delighted at the having writers who are specifically crafting stories at once firmly rooted in the culture of the Caribbean Diaspora and engage young readers by making their realities central to the narrative” says E. Wayne McDonald, Caribbean Cultural Theatre, artistic director.

In addition to Ms. Skerrett’s, Abraham’s Treasure, which introduces us to teenage twins brothers on a frantic hunt for treasure, buried during the days of slavery, other books for teenagers and young adults include Chen Chin’s, The Adventures of Flat Head, about finding one’s way ‘back home’, and CJ Farley’s hip-hop infused coming of age romp, Game World. Even younger readers will be delighted by the work of children’s book authors Ibi Zoboi, A is for Ayiti, Carol Ottley-Mitchell, Chee Chee in Paradise, and Kellie Magnus and her Little Lion series which chronicles the exploits of a precocious lion cub as he takes on some the world’s best in track & field and soccer.

“In a world where we have to compete with so many negative forces for the minds of our young, particularly in the media. We encourage, support and promote wholesome presentations from the cradle to adulthood” says, Dr. Waldaba Stewart, Senior Research Fellow, Caribbean Research Center.

The young readers platform closes with an Open Mic session for original work by aspiring teenaged poets and spoken word artists.

In addition to workshops on publishing, marketing and translations the festival will also explore the impact of images in storytelling with visual artists and children’s book illustrators including Ricardo Cortes (Mexico), Deborah Jack (St. Marteen/St. Martin), and Laura James (Antigua & Barbuda).

Not to be outdone are the entertaining, insightful and provocative readings for more mature readers from writers as varied as novelists Petra Lewis (Trinidad & Tobago), The Sons and Daughters of Ham, KatiaUlysse (Haiti), Drifting; Annette Vendryes Leach (Panama), Song of the Shaman;poetsAJA (Barbados), Hermina Marcellin (St. Lucia); Ras Osagyefo (Jamaica), Jason Price (Belize); Maria Rodriguez (Puerto Rico), and Go de R*ss to Sleep, a Jamaican patois translation of Adam Mansbach’s ‘adult’ bedtime story.

Being held in observance of Caribbean American Heritage Month, WORD! – A Caribbean Book Fest, takes place on Sunday, June 8, 2014, 2:00 – 8:00pm at Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225. For tickets and additional information, telephone 718-783-8345 / 718-270-6218.

Created for lovers of the magic of the written word,the festival highlights the richness, complexity and diversity of literary work emanating from the Caribbean and the many talented writers invested in the narratives of the Caribbean Diaspora. A project of the Caribbean Cultural Theatre’s Poets & Passion series, the festival presents work in all the official languages of the region (Dutch, English, French; Spanish) and related native languages.

Presented by the Caribbean Cultural Theatre in association with the Caribbean Research Center at Medgar Evers College, the festival is under the joint patronage of the Caribbean Consuls General Corp and is made possible in part with support from of the Brooklyn Arts Council, Medgar Evers College (City University of New York) – Office of the Provost, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Poets & Writers, Inc, and Friends of the Caribbean Cultural Theatre; with additional programming assistance from Akashic Books, Anansesem – Caribbean children’s literature ezine, Franklin & Franklin Publishers, Friends of the Antigua Public Library, Guyana Cultural Association, Mosaic Literary Magazine, Secret Cravings Publishing, St. Martin/Sint Maarten Friendship Association and Union of Jamaica Alumni Associations.

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Caribbean Cultural Theatre is a theatrical immersion experience presenting the work of Caribbean based and/or influenced writers, performers and other practitioners that both entertains and enlightens and honours a balanced rendering of Caribbean culture and the Caribbean-American experience.

Caribbean Research Center is an integral academic component of Medgar Evers College and provides a multidisciplinary understanding of the New York social environment, the diverse social, cultural and economic characteristics of the Caribbean-American community and a comparative analysis of the immigration experience of this community in the context of the wider Caribbean Diasporas in the Americas and Europe.

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