Categorized | Features, General, Local

Alliouagana Literary Festival: Saturday highlights

By Cathy Buffonge

As described in a previous article, the third Alliouagana Festival of the Word, spearheaded by Montserrat’s UWI Open Campus, was officially opened on Friday, November 11, after a pre-Festival Symposium the evening before. During the two main Festival days (Saturday and Sunday) a variety of visiting authors, many of whom have won several awards for their books, took part.

Author Ian Thomson

First to present on Saturday was Ian Thompson, a journalist, critic and writer, based in London but specializing in Italy and the Caribbean. He read from two of his books, including one set in Jamaica, The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica. Although his books are non-fiction and describe his travels and interviews with a range of local people, he does not describe himself as a travel writer, but prefers to talk of ‘Life writing’, as he seeks to understand and portray through interviews and background information, what is really happening in the places he visits.

Author David Elliott

David Elliot, based in the US, has written many children’s books, including very attractive picture books for the younger ones and story books for older children. His workshop on Wild Words was one of the best attended, with many children and parents in the audience. He took the group through a brainstorming session to show how he puts ideas and words together for a children’s picture book, in this case about animals.

Olive Senior is an award winning Jamaican writer based in Canada. She writes poetry, short stories, novels and non-fiction books. Her workshop was entitled Finding a Voice in Poetry and she also read from some of her work. Like the other authors several of her books were on sale at the Festival, including her appealing short stories. Charmaine Riley, a young Montserratian writer based in the UK, was not present but her poems portraying her views of life were read by Dr Clarice Barnes at the Speakers’ Corner. Charmaine has been confined to a wheel chair all her life, but this has not prevented her from expressing herself and her views on life through poetry.

Author Olive Senior

The winners of The MVO (Montserrat Volcano Observatory) schools poetry competition were announced by their new Education and Outreach Officer Sonja Melander, with several of the winners reading their poems. 140 children took part in the competition, the majority from primary school, with the topic Volcano in my Backyard.

The standard of poems was high, with the children taking time and trouble over their poems. Prize winners from junior grades were Nikeisha Scotland, Shermika Lloyd and Tiffany Weekes,  and from Grades 5 and 6 Tevorne Pond, Imani Golden, Jayesh Sadhwani and Christal Edgecombe, while Secondary winners were Tazia Briscoe and Reneitha Fergus. There were also many honourable mentions at Primary level.

MVO Director Dr Paul Cole gave a slide presentation on Island of Fire, the MVO’s exciting new book of photographs, chosen from the thousands of photos they have taken over the years, and portraying the various aspects of the volcanic activity on Montserrat.

Wild Words Poetry Workshop

In addition to the various presentations by the authors in the conference room upstairs, there was a variety of booths downstairs in the foyer and patio, including books, souvenirs and of course stalls selling food as well as fresh fruit smoothies and juices, so one could stay right there to eat and drink. The books of the visiting authors were given prominence on special tables for display and sale. There was also an exhibit of Cathy Buffonge’s articles, many on local events in Montserrat, as well as Caribbean health issues, over the years from 1983 onwards.

In the evening there was a dramatic performance, Time to Laugh, by Richardo Keens Douglas from Grenada (brother of Paul K-D). This was more than a comedy show, with some serious elements skilfully and sensitively woven in, as he dramatized stories focusing on Caribbean life, culture and legend.  Some very attractive books by Richardo were available after the show, portraying in print and pictures the stories from his stage performances.

Again head of the UWI Open Campus, Gracelyn Cassell, and her dedicated team of staff and volunteers, were instrumental in the success of this Festival. In another article we will wrap up by looking at the Sunday highlights.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Cathy Buffonge

As described in a previous article, the third Alliouagana Festival of the Word, spearheaded by Montserrat’s UWI Open Campus, was officially opened on Friday, November 11, after a pre-Festival Symposium the evening before. During the two main Festival days (Saturday and Sunday) a variety of visiting authors, many of whom have won several awards for their books, took part.

Author Ian Thomson

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First to present on Saturday was Ian Thompson, a journalist, critic and writer, based in London but specializing in Italy and the Caribbean. He read from two of his books, including one set in Jamaica, The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica. Although his books are non-fiction and describe his travels and interviews with a range of local people, he does not describe himself as a travel writer, but prefers to talk of ‘Life writing’, as he seeks to understand and portray through interviews and background information, what is really happening in the places he visits.

Author David Elliott

David Elliot, based in the US, has written many children’s books, including very attractive picture books for the younger ones and story books for older children. His workshop on Wild Words was one of the best attended, with many children and parents in the audience. He took the group through a brainstorming session to show how he puts ideas and words together for a children’s picture book, in this case about animals.

Olive Senior is an award winning Jamaican writer based in Canada. She writes poetry, short stories, novels and non-fiction books. Her workshop was entitled Finding a Voice in Poetry and she also read from some of her work. Like the other authors several of her books were on sale at the Festival, including her appealing short stories. Charmaine Riley, a young Montserratian writer based in the UK, was not present but her poems portraying her views of life were read by Dr Clarice Barnes at the Speakers’ Corner. Charmaine has been confined to a wheel chair all her life, but this has not prevented her from expressing herself and her views on life through poetry.

Author Olive Senior

The winners of The MVO (Montserrat Volcano Observatory) schools poetry competition were announced by their new Education and Outreach Officer Sonja Melander, with several of the winners reading their poems. 140 children took part in the competition, the majority from primary school, with the topic Volcano in my Backyard.

The standard of poems was high, with the children taking time and trouble over their poems. Prize winners from junior grades were Nikeisha Scotland, Shermika Lloyd and Tiffany Weekes,  and from Grades 5 and 6 Tevorne Pond, Imani Golden, Jayesh Sadhwani and Christal Edgecombe, while Secondary winners were Tazia Briscoe and Reneitha Fergus. There were also many honourable mentions at Primary level.

MVO Director Dr Paul Cole gave a slide presentation on Island of Fire, the MVO’s exciting new book of photographs, chosen from the thousands of photos they have taken over the years, and portraying the various aspects of the volcanic activity on Montserrat.

Wild Words Poetry Workshop

In addition to the various presentations by the authors in the conference room upstairs, there was a variety of booths downstairs in the foyer and patio, including books, souvenirs and of course stalls selling food as well as fresh fruit smoothies and juices, so one could stay right there to eat and drink. The books of the visiting authors were given prominence on special tables for display and sale. There was also an exhibit of Cathy Buffonge’s articles, many on local events in Montserrat, as well as Caribbean health issues, over the years from 1983 onwards.

In the evening there was a dramatic performance, Time to Laugh, by Richardo Keens Douglas from Grenada (brother of Paul K-D). This was more than a comedy show, with some serious elements skilfully and sensitively woven in, as he dramatized stories focusing on Caribbean life, culture and legend.  Some very attractive books by Richardo were available after the show, portraying in print and pictures the stories from his stage performances.

Again head of the UWI Open Campus, Gracelyn Cassell, and her dedicated team of staff and volunteers, were instrumental in the success of this Festival. In another article we will wrap up by looking at the Sunday highlights.