WORDALIVE: St. Lucia's new International Literary Festival
Five years ago the audience for this annual event filled just about 100 seats. But each year the event has evolved into a major fixture several times that size and has welcomed headliners like Andrea Blackwood-Meekes, Stacy-Ann Chin, Roger Bonaire Agard, and a growing number of inspired young writers expressing a spectrum of new and provocative material.
The event has outgrown successive venues: Place Carenage where it was born and Pointe Seraphine where it sojourned briefly before finding a home at Samaans Park. In this setting, the event has flourished, thanks to growing audiences, dynamic poet-performers, a dedicated production crew, and loyal sponsors who have nurtured the dream and proven that there is sustainable demand for quality entertainment in St. Lucia.
First National Bank, the original WORD ALIVE sponsor continues its support into this new phase and deserve high commendation for such foresight. As an indigenous financial institution they clearly recognize that this work is important: turning people on to more than jam and whine and chicken and rum, broadening horizons, and supporting an annual forum for exploring the wonder of language and communication.This work of providing young writers with a platform from which to take off into the world beyond is vitally necessary. It is not an extra. It is a foundation for
creative thinking and individual expression which are building blocks of democracy and development. They are fundamental to freedom of thought and speech and the building of a civil society. They are the means by which we learn to address ourselves and each other; the medium to express our dreams and our problems and to articulate as Caribbean people in a Caribbean society, the collective way forward.
If we cannot afford that, how come we can afford guns, and crime, and violence, and cocktail parties. And, how come we can afford drugs, and illiteracy? And how is that we can accept the sheer terror of a society crumbling around our all-inclusive burglar-proofed, electronically alarmed homes?
Adapted from the Producer’s Remarks
at the Official Opening of
WORD ALIVE INTERNATIONAL LITERARY FESTIVAL 2010The Arena, Samaans Park - March 25, 2010