International authors head for St. Martin Book Fair

POSTED: 05/6/14 10:52 AM

St. Maarten – “Turkey, South Sudan, Puerto Rico and St. Martin are some of the places writers will be coming from. They will meet with locals and our visitors, exchange exciting books, visit schools, conduct free workshops and give live multilingual literary readings,” said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) about the St. Martin Book Fair that will take place from June 5 to 7, themed Crime & Punishment.

“Garrett Hongo, the much in-demand US poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist, and author of Coral Road will be here. Professor Hongo’s Japanese and Hawaiian heritages make up only part of what we’ll experience from him and his books on his first Caribbean trip,” said Shujah Reiph, book fair coordinator and Conscious Lyrics (CLF) president.

“Francis Bok, from South Sudan is coming with his book, Escape from Slavery. In his autobiography this dignified gentleman tells about how he was kidnapped as a child, on the way to the food market for his mother, and forced into slavery for ten years. Today he is a leading abolitionist against slavery and ‘child soldier’ kidnappings,” said Reiph following Saturday’s Book Fair Committee meeting.

“Ece Temelkuran, an exciting novelist of 12 books is heading our way. She’s one of Turkey’s most read political columnists. Her columns appear in international media such as The Guardian and Le Monde Diplomatique. Temelkuran, who delivered the 4thFreedom Lecture in Amsterdam, has seen the blood on the ground from the political murder of a fellow journalist and has been fired from the Haberturk newspaper for reporting on what this brave writer calls the prime minister’s war on journalists, and … on the rights of the Kurdish people,” said Reiph.

CLF and HNP organize the book fair in collaboration with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the University of St. Martin.

“Over the next few weeks, look out for the names of more heavyweight authors and upcoming writers heading for the St. Martin Book Fair, ‘A book fair for the entire family’,” said Reiph.

Talking about family, with the second Carnival season just over, rest up the kiddies because on Saturday, June 7, which is the main book fair day at USM, the annual Children’s Room will fit the festival’s theme as well. The Children’s Room organizer plans to ask parents to have each child come dressed as the child’s favorite super hero or heroine,” said Reiph.

“We’re also encouraging contributors and patrons of the nation’s arts to join us in building up the literary festival on the Friendly Island. In describing the exciting sprouting of book fairs in the Caribbean region, Caribbean Beat magazine recently wrote that, ‘the St. Martin Book Fair is international and multilingual to the core.’ Over 16 book fairs are held in the region, and most of them are less than 10 years old,” said Sample.

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