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Montserrat’s Festival of the Word coming soon

By Cathy Buffonge
SALEM, Montserrat – A most exciting Literary Festival will be held in Montserrat during November. This annual event is spearheaded by the Open Campus of the University of the West Indies under the inspired leadership of Gracelyn Cassell, head of the Open Campus in Montserrat.
Named “Alliouagana Festival of the Word” after the historic Amerindian name for Montserrat, the Festival runs from Thursday 12th November to Sunday 15th. This year’s theme, “Volcanic Dust: Journeys and Connections”, commemorates the twentieth anniversary of Montserrat’s volcanic activity. Special Patron of this year’s Festival is Baroness Floella Benjamin (see box below)

 Special Patron of this year’s Festival is Baroness Floella Benjamin. This lady is truly a Caribbean icon. Originally from Trinidad but living in the UK since she was ten, she has undertaken a host of charitable and media projects in the UK, making a real difference to the lives of children. She has been a stage and screen actress, TV presenter and producer, written several children’s books and done a host of charitable work benefitting children.She was made a Baroness by the Queen in 2010 and sits in the UK House of Lords. She also has a BAFTA award among many others.

Her latest book “Coming to England” documents her experiences as a West Indian child left behind in Trinidad, and later arriving to join her parents in the cold and unwelcoming 1960’s UK  (an experience of many Caribbean children at that time) —  and how she rose above it.  A film based on this book will be shown at the end of the Festival on the Sunday evening: not to be missed..

While here she will also meet and talk with school children and Community College students. If you listen to “Under the Tamarind Tree” on Radio Montserrat, you may have heard her in a most inspiring interview with Professor Clarice Barnes, which was replayed a few months ago. We are really privileged to have her with us for this year’s Festival.

You can read more on her website:- http://www.floellabenjamin.com/Welcome.html

The Festival starts as usual on the Thursday evening with a lecture in the Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell memorial lecture series, this year on the topic “Thinking beyond the ash: using our volcanic resources”. The presenter will be Dr Aldrin Sweeney, Associate Professor at Ross University Medical School in Dominica, who is also a Board member for the Montserrat Community College. The lecture is expected to be stimulating and thought provoking, and is usually well attended, sparking a lively discussion.

The official opening ceremony will be on the Friday evening, and will include the introduction of authors and presenters, an African fashion show, launch of new publications and more. New books to be launched are by Edgar Nkosi White and David Lea, while signed copies of other books by local authors will also be available.  Guest performer Trinidadian calypsonian “Short Pants” will perform, as well as giving a session on calypso writing later in the Festival.

During the Saturday and Sunday a host of activities will take place, with presentations by several distinguished Montserrat writers and thinkers: Anne Marie Dewar on writing dialect poetry, Sir Howard Fergus on “Emergence of a Volcano literature”, and Professor Clarice Barnes on Olaudah Equiano.

Jeremy Pointing of Peepal Tree Press will talk on “Getting published”, as well as a speaking about celebrated author Archie Markham, whose work he has published. Montserratian author Andrew Skerritt will present his book “Writing and returning: thawing freeze dried memory”.

Tony Eprile, a South African writer who explores the impact of racial tensions on everyday life, will present his book “Memory loss and tourist attractions”; while Keith Taylor (husband of Baroness Floella) will speak on “a career in film and television”.

A popular informal event is the prize giving for the MVO creative writing competition, with the children (and adults this year) reading their winning entries. There will also be the ever-popular Book Lovers’ Parade, where children wear costumes depicting a character from a favourite book.

At a fund raising luncheon on the Sunday, among other events there will be a video and music montage”Volcano Review” created by Randall “Randy” Greenaway, who always does inspiring and innovative work. The Festival ends with the film version of “Coming to England” based on the book by Floella Benjamin (see box). All are encouraged to see this film.

Throughout the Festival the foyer and patio at the Cultural Centre will feature stalls selling books, food and drink, providing a pleasant ambience in this area as people meet and mingle in between the sessions. There will also be the bouncy castle for the children.

A special and new event included in the Festival will be “Word Up”, a showcase event with spoken word, lyrics, poetry, freestyle artists and readings. While the main Festival events will be held at the Cultural Centre, “Word Up” will take place at the “Lyme” in Brades – something new to look forward to which is sure to be interesting and stimulating.

The Festival promises to be exciting, with something for everyone. All are encouraged to come and experience this very special event. For further information please go to www.litfest.ms or email the Open Campus at montserrat@open.uwi.edu

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Cathy Buffonge
SALEM, Montserrat – A most exciting Literary Festival will be held in Montserrat during November. This annual event is spearheaded by the Open Campus of the University of the West Indies under the inspired leadership of Gracelyn Cassell, head of the Open Campus in Montserrat.
Named “Alliouagana Festival of the Word” after the historic Amerindian name for Montserrat, the Festival runs from Thursday 12th November to Sunday 15th. This year’s theme, “Volcanic Dust: Journeys and Connections”, commemorates the twentieth anniversary of Montserrat’s volcanic activity. Special Patron of this year’s Festival is Baroness Floella Benjamin (see box below)

 Special Patron of this year’s Festival is Baroness Floella Benjamin. This lady is truly a Caribbean icon. Originally from Trinidad but living in the UK since she was ten, she has undertaken a host of charitable and media projects in the UK, making a real difference to the lives of children. She has been a stage and screen actress, TV presenter and producer, written several children’s books and done a host of charitable work benefitting children.She was made a Baroness by the Queen in 2010 and sits in the UK House of Lords. She also has a BAFTA award among many others.

Her latest book “Coming to England” documents her experiences as a West Indian child left behind in Trinidad, and later arriving to join her parents in the cold and unwelcoming 1960’s UK  (an experience of many Caribbean children at that time) —  and how she rose above it.  A film based on this book will be shown at the end of the Festival on the Sunday evening: not to be missed..

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While here she will also meet and talk with school children and Community College students. If you listen to “Under the Tamarind Tree” on Radio Montserrat, you may have heard her in a most inspiring interview with Professor Clarice Barnes, which was replayed a few months ago. We are really privileged to have her with us for this year’s Festival.

You can read more on her website:- http://www.floellabenjamin.com/Welcome.html

The Festival starts as usual on the Thursday evening with a lecture in the Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell memorial lecture series, this year on the topic “Thinking beyond the ash: using our volcanic resources”. The presenter will be Dr Aldrin Sweeney, Associate Professor at Ross University Medical School in Dominica, who is also a Board member for the Montserrat Community College. The lecture is expected to be stimulating and thought provoking, and is usually well attended, sparking a lively discussion.

The official opening ceremony will be on the Friday evening, and will include the introduction of authors and presenters, an African fashion show, launch of new publications and more. New books to be launched are by Edgar Nkosi White and David Lea, while signed copies of other books by local authors will also be available.  Guest performer Trinidadian calypsonian “Short Pants” will perform, as well as giving a session on calypso writing later in the Festival.

During the Saturday and Sunday a host of activities will take place, with presentations by several distinguished Montserrat writers and thinkers: Anne Marie Dewar on writing dialect poetry, Sir Howard Fergus on “Emergence of a Volcano literature”, and Professor Clarice Barnes on Olaudah Equiano.

Jeremy Pointing of Peepal Tree Press will talk on “Getting published”, as well as a speaking about celebrated author Archie Markham, whose work he has published. Montserratian author Andrew Skerritt will present his book “Writing and returning: thawing freeze dried memory”.

Tony Eprile, a South African writer who explores the impact of racial tensions on everyday life, will present his book “Memory loss and tourist attractions”; while Keith Taylor (husband of Baroness Floella) will speak on “a career in film and television”.

A popular informal event is the prize giving for the MVO creative writing competition, with the children (and adults this year) reading their winning entries. There will also be the ever-popular Book Lovers’ Parade, where children wear costumes depicting a character from a favourite book.

At a fund raising luncheon on the Sunday, among other events there will be a video and music montage”Volcano Review” created by Randall “Randy” Greenaway, who always does inspiring and innovative work. The Festival ends with the film version of “Coming to England” based on the book by Floella Benjamin (see box). All are encouraged to see this film.

Throughout the Festival the foyer and patio at the Cultural Centre will feature stalls selling books, food and drink, providing a pleasant ambience in this area as people meet and mingle in between the sessions. There will also be the bouncy castle for the children.

A special and new event included in the Festival will be “Word Up”, a showcase event with spoken word, lyrics, poetry, freestyle artists and readings. While the main Festival events will be held at the Cultural Centre, “Word Up” will take place at the “Lyme” in Brades – something new to look forward to which is sure to be interesting and stimulating.

The Festival promises to be exciting, with something for everyone. All are encouraged to come and experience this very special event. For further information please go to www.litfest.ms or email the Open Campus at montserrat@open.uwi.edu