The book fair is almost there: George Lamming on Rodney, Wena Poon on Books are Boring

POSTED: 05/16/12 1:37 PM

GREAT BAY/MARIGOT — Barbadian George Lamming will head the Presidents’ forum at the University of St. Martin on June 2 during the tenth annual Book Fair. Lamming, described in a press release by the organization as an “illustrious Caribbean novelist/thinker” will focus on the late Dr. Walter Rodney, a historian and political activist who was assassinated in Guyana in 1980. Copies of Rodney’s classic How Europe underdeveloped Africa will be available at the book fair, coordinator Shujah Reiph said.
Novelist, playwright, performer, poet and attorney Wena Poon from Singapore is also confirmed as a visiting author. Her books include Lions in Winter, The Biophilia Omnibus, and Alexy Robert, which has been serialized in London by BBC Radio 4.
Poon has won literary awards in the UK, France, and Singapore for her work. The subjects of her books range from the Chinese diaspora, modern tales about “a serious English banker, a sexy Taiwanese ingenue, and a dapper Hong Kong leading man,” to bull fighting in Spain by an American woman, and a science fiction series, described as “an absorbing video game with a love story embedded in it.” (Quest Magazine)
“We see the St. Martin Book Fair as a way of introducing Wena Poon to the Caribbean,” said Reiph.
The fact that the Harvard-trained lawyer speaks English, French and numerous Chinese languages, and that French and Chinese are sometimes used in her English-language fiction, puts her right up the St. Martin multilingual neighborhood, said Reiph.
Poon’s workshop at the St. Martin Book Fair is called, Books Are Boring! Rethinking the Art of Consuming & Creating Fictional Narrative.” The workshop is scheduled for Saturday June 2, at the university.
That day, the university campus will be the home of the main exhibition of books, multimedia tools, children’s games and storytelling, workshops, and symposia.
The all-day Saturday fair also includes a St. Martin film screening and discussion with the director and actors; and a cooking and homemade ice cream-making demonstration by new Caribbean vegan cookbook author Taymer Mason.
However, before the rush on Saturday, there is Friday. On June 1, the Yacht Club Restaurant, at Fort Louis Marina on the Marigot Waterfront, will host the annual literary evening.
Eleven authors from countries and territories such as Haiti, Antigua, Barbados, USA, Italy, Singapore, and Martinique, will treat the audience to “some really great selections” from their original poetry and fiction, said Reiph.
As a 10th anniversary feature, two promising young St. Martin writers that are working on their first manuscripts will read at the evening concert of words. “Usually only writers of published books read at the poetry and fiction recital,” said Reiph.
The Book Fair Committee (BFC) and organizers have been meeting over the last few months to put an exciting anniversary program together. “We are busy ironing out the tough wrinkles. We are working hard to give the St. Martin people and our visitors a world-class St. Martin Book Fair,” said Reiph.
The BFC will coordinate over 20 book fair and pre-book fair activities for the festival, said Reiph. All book fair activities are free to attend.
Conscious Lyrics Foundation and House of Nehesi Publishers, both NGOs, organize the St. Martin Book Fair, in collaboration with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the University of St. Martin.

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