Founder of the Bim Literary Festival Esther Phillips (right) with widow of C.L.R. James Selma James (centre) and cultural arts practitioner Cynthia Wilson. (Picture by Gercine Carter.)
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DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER of the Bim Literary Festival, Esther Phillips, has expressed concern about the number of persons who cannot read.
And, Phillips said the festival is designed to give assistance in correcting this deficiency by promoting literacy and encouraging the love of literature.
She made the comments to the media today after delivering brief remarks at the start of the Bim Literary Festival and Book Fair at the National Library Service in Independence Square. She added that a Children’s Lit Fest was also developed as part of the three-day activity to encourage children to read from an early age.
She underscored the importance of the festival, saying that it highlighted the literary heritage of Barbados by giving persons an opportunity to celebrate what writers had done for 50 years.
“It gives us the opportunity to look at our iconic writers like George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite and Austin Clarke, as well as highlight our more contemporary writers,” she explained.
Phillips described the festival as not only being about entertainment but intellectual stimulation. “And there is something really wonderful about having a room full of people whose brains are firing with all kinds of wonderful ideas, some controversial and some innovative, and we will have the privilege of being exposed to them,” she stated.
Fifty Years of Independence is the theme of the festival, which takes place in and around Independence Square, including the National Library Service, Days Books Store, Waterfront Café and the Festival Tent. It will feature a variety of Barbadian and Caribbean authors, who write on various themes and in a range of styles, as well as readings, panel discussions, workshops and master classes.
The festival’s launch will be tomorrow, Friday, May 13, at Ilaro Court. Evan Marshall, son of renowned American writer of Barbadian parentage, Paule Marshall, will receive the Writers’ Ink's Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of his mother, from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
Marshall’s first novel, Brown Girl, Brownstones, published in 1959, celebrates her visits to Barbados as a child, and a dramatised excerpt of the book was performed today at the National Library Service.
The first Bim Literary Festival was held in 2012. (BGIS)