The 14th edition of Montserrat’s Alliouagana Festival of the Word returns in November with a focus on children’s literature and language as protest and for nation building.
Coryn Ayana Clarke of Trinidad & Tobago, who has achieved her ambitious challenge of publishing seven books by her seventh birthday (later this month), will be this year’s guest author. Her first book Chronicles of Coryn: 7 Days of Fun, was written and published in 2020 when she was just four years old. It was named one of the most popular children’s books in the world.
“We haven’t been able to host any authors on island due to the pandemic and it is a delight for us to welcome Coryn to Montserrat as our first guest author in several years,” said Nerissa Golden, festival coordinator and CEO of Goldenmedia LLC, one of this year’s sponsors.
“Montserratian authors have a preference for poetry, but we want to encourage more long form storytelling and we believe Coryn will inspire a new generation of writers,” Golden added.
The literary festival slated for November 17 to 19, 2022 remains a hybrid experience with some sessions streamed live on Facebook and in person events around the island. On day one, the Ministry of Education will host the popular Book Parade for primary schools. In the evening, there will be a Movie Night showing the short comedy The Fab 4 and the Silent Retreat (2022) by Director Peter Sagnia of UK/St. Maarten.
“Montserrat will also get a special advanced screening of the feature Deep Blue (2022), by HAMAFilms Antigua. In classic HAMAFilms style it blends romance with the reality of small island challenges such as protecting the environment or making a living. Showing this feature is in support of the Montserrat Tourism Division’s Environmental Awareness Initiative of which I am proud to be the champion,” Golden explained.
The Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell Memorial Lecture Series will be streamed on Friday evening. The interactive event will feature a panel of local and regional experts discussing Language as Protest – How does preserving our dialects serve as a tool for nation building?
The final day will celebrate children and imagination with the book launch of Chronicles of Coryn with young Ms Clarke and Cassava Kids by first time Montserratian author Roydenn Silcott. The works of other authors will also be for sale during the Family Fun Day at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory will announce the winners of its creative writing competition and children will be able to exchange old and new books at the Book Swap sponsored by the Public Library.
Returning as a key partner for the festival is the Montserrat Arts Council. The Montserrat Tourism Division is also co-sponsoring this year’s event.
Get updates on the festival by searching #AFWLitFest on social media and online at www.litfest.ms.