From Havana to Port of Spain, Caribbean lit fests and other cultural activities are inching back to life as countries and territories of the region and around the world continue working to put manners on the Covid-19 pandemic. Caribbean Literature Day 2022 on July 12 is also ready to repeat its growing popularity as a “people’s celebration” in the region, and with activities by individuals and institutions from Canada to Kenya.
This year, Frontlist.in, India’s publishing platform, and the Texas-based Greene Publishing have joined those announcing the celebration, said Lasana M. Sekou of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). HNP is the indie press that launched Caribbean Literature Day at the St. Martin Book Fair in 2020.
“Fabian Uncut” is the Caribbean Literature Day program in St. Martin on Tuesday, July 12, hosted by the cosy SoIL art space at St. John’s Ranch #5, just off LB Scott Road, said SoIL director Dr. Rhoda Arrindell.
Fabian Adekunle Badejo will read from SOS: Season of Storms, his latest book of poems. The poet, journalist, literary critic will himself be interviewed throughout his recital for a book-talk interactive with the audience, said Badejo’s publisher HNP.
“Fabian Uncut” is a free, public cultural program that begins at 7:30 PM; and books will be available, said Shujah Reiph, president of Conscious Lyrics (CLF). The cultural foundation is bundling its energy with SoIL and HNP to spread the word and activities on- and off-island, at venues and online about Caribbean Literature Day, said Reiph.
“All Caribbean People & Lovers of Caribbean Literature everywhere,” individuals and institutions are encouraged each year to “celebrate the day by reading the works of your favourite Caribbean writers; buying Caribbean books published in the Caribbean and beyond, and by Caribbean authors. Present Caribbean books as gifts.”
Caribbean Literature Day is an exciting reason to have library exhibitions, special sales from bookstores and publishers, and literary supplements in newspapers, blogs, and other media, said Reiph.
Furthermore, the pan-Caribbean day can be celebrated “with books, recitals, social media posts and discussions at home, work, and play and in all media, about books of poetry, fiction, drama, art, music, and all the other genres by Caribbean writers”.
The following statement, originally issued by HNP in 2020, explains the significance of Caribbean Literature Day.
Some 458 years ago, on July 12, 1562, the Spanish Franciscan priest and bishop of Yucatán, Diego de Landa, with soldiers and colonial authorities in attendance, burned the sacred books of the Maya people.
As July 12 marked the destruction of the first known books and library containing knowledge spanning millennia in the widest space of this region, we are inviting all of you to grace this day with the attributes of the Maya Itzamna’s creative force of writing, of Legba, the opener of the gates of languages, of a brilliant phoenix, and now celebrate Caribbean literature, one of the world’s youngest and most resilient literatures, which continues to flourish within the same region that had at its most ancient recorded foundation, encoded and written in books, the orature and literature of a great people.
Have a happy Caribbean Literature Day, to everyone in every Caribbean country and territory, to everyone in what George Lamming called the Caribbean’s “external frontiers” and around the world.
Long live Caribbean Literature!
Caribbean Literature Day/ Día de la Literatura Caribeña/ la Journée de Littérature Caribéenne