A senior government official has voiced concern that the literary arts in Barbados have been languishing while its counterparts, the visual and performing arts, continue to grow.
Speaking at the launch of the first book-length biography of the late Frank Collymore yesterday at the Grande Salle of the Central Bank, Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, expressed the hope that the rebirth of BIM magazine would be a catalyst for the resurgence of national and regional interest in writing.
He said it was heartening that the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) had reported a substantial increase in submissions in the literary arts for the recently concluded National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
According to him, the establishment of the NCF’s publishing arm and its annual publication of the NIFCA Anthology, together with the new BIM, "offer the assurance of sustained literary arts programmes and continuation of the outstanding work of this great Barbadian artist, Frank Collymore."
Mr. Blackett said he believed that having one’s work published in BIM should be a goal aspired to by any Barbadian or Caribbean writer.
He also stressed the importance of Barbados paying tribute to its cultural icons in the same manner its sporting greats were honoured.
"The time is right for us to put in place a system that honours our cultural icons and legends; the people who, over the years, have worked to develop various aspects of culture and the arts here in Barbados," Minister Blackett remarked.
He revealed that this initiative would be pursued by his Ministry in earnest. "I will at least ensure that a process is put in motion, and that, at least, the necessary groundwork is laid."
The publication, entitled "Frank Collymore: A Biography", was launched by the Government of Barbados and the University of the West Indies, in association with Ian Randle Publishers.
It is written by Edward Baugh, Professor Emeritus of English, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.