The reason Coryn Anaya Clarke was able to write seven books by her seventh birthday was because she set a goal. This is what the young Trinidad & Tobago author told attendees of her Chronicles of Coryn book launch at the Montserrat’s Alliouagana Festival of the Word (AFW LitFest) over the weekend.
Young Miss Clarke was the guest of the festival committee along with her mother, Dionne. While visiting the island, she attended the festival’s movie night where she made quick friends. She also visited the Lookout Primary and St. Augustine Roman Catholic Primary schools and spoke to the children about her books.
She shared that she has been reading since she was two years old and wrote her first book, Chronicles of Coryn: Seven Days of Fun when she was four. She told students at the St. Augustine school that each book is a process of deciding on a cover, writing and coming up with the illustrations. Her inspiration for reading and writing was her late grandmother, Jonesy, for whom she penned a book earlier this year.
During her book launch interview with librarian Sonja Smith, Coryn challenged the children to use their imagination to make the cover, write the book and to create the illustrations. “It is in your mind,” she declared. “It is also pretty easy to write,” she said, as she writes what is going on in her life.
Other authors featured during the final day of the festival were Roydenn Silcott with his Cassava Kids Collective. Book 1 – Responsible Rosie is about children living on a cassava farm and learning life lessons and values with the help of creatures such as Montserrat’s national bird, the Oriole, and the critically endangered Mountain Chicken.
Also launching projects were Ian Gerald with his Professionals Journals Series, numeracy expert Deanne Whiskey-John with UMPH – a practical guide to teaching creative writing and historian and poet Dr. Howard Fergus, with Intriguing Story.
Through the Meet the Authors series which streamed live on the festival’s Facebook and other media partner channels, audiences got to learn about Trinidadian author Sade Walker and Fuzzy Wants to Play, Christal Clashing O’Reilly, one of the Antiguan Island Girls, who released Yemoja’s Anansi, Celia Sorhiando of Dominica and her Radical Normalisation Poetry Collection, and Montserratian Valerie Farrell’s Untold Stories.
Festival Coordinator, Nerissa Golden said she was pleased with the support for the annual event which is growing each year.
“The hybrid model has helped the festival to reach a broader audience. It also allows us to share the works of more authors than we would be able to bring to Montserrat,” Golden explained. “In the new year we plan to add workshops for writers interested in producing novels for various ages.”
The Alliouagana Festival of the Word is supported by Montserrat Arts Council, goldenmedia, Montserrat Tourism Division, Governor’s Office, the Montserrat Public Library, and the Department of Environment.
Visit litfest.ms for more information or their Facebook page @AFWLitFest