Within a few days, members of the public will be exposed to great Caribbean writing when the 2016 Bim Literary Festival and Book Fair is held in Bridgetown.
Fifty Years of Independence is the theme of the festival, which will take place from Thursday, May 12, to Saturday, May 14, in and around Independence Square, including the National Library Service, Days Books Stores, Waterfront Caf?? and the Festival Tent.
It will feature an array of Barbadian and Caribbean authors writing on a variety of themes and in a range of styles.
Visitors to the festival will be treated to readings, panel discussions, workshops and masterclasses featuring writing luminaries, including A-D Ziko Simba Gegele, Bernice McFadden, Cecil Foster, Horace Goddard, Joanne Hillhouse, Lynn Joseph, Mervyn Morris, Olive Senior, Pearl Eintou Springer, Selma James, Sharon Morgan-Beckford and Tanya Shirley.
Also on the programme are Khalid Batson, Jane Bryce, Harold Hoyte, Cherie Jones, Tennyson Joseph, Karen Lord, Keoma Mallett, Mark McWatt, Robert Sandiford, D J Simmons, Hazel Simmons-McDonald, Celeste St. Hill, Aprille L Thomas, Russell Watson and Edison Theo Williams.
The panel discussions, which will be held at the National Library Service, will focus on iconic texts around 50 years or over, written by Barbadian and other Caribbean authors. There will also be discussion around the new generation of Barbadian writers pre and post-Independence.
Other highlights during the festival will include BimRock Variations, i.e. readings of fiction and poetry on the Festival Stage in Independence Square on Friday and at the Waterfront Cafe on Saturday.
There will be a “Meet the Authors” session on Friday at 1:45 p.m. under the Festival Tent, and book sales by authors throughout the festival. There will also be a full programme for youngsters, The Children???s Lit Fest, organised by Festival coordinator and writer, Linda M. Deane.
There will also be a Bridgetown Literary Tour which will showcase local literary figures via the sites that are and were important to them, as well as sites related to Independence.
The tour, which is a Bim Literary Festival favourite, will be led by Victor Cooke of Eco Adventures. It will be held at 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, starting at the Errol Barrow Statue in Independence Square.
The first Bim Literary Festival was held in 2012 and its Founder Esther Phillips, underscored the importance of the participation of regional and international writers.
Ms. Phillips said: ???Sharing ideas, seeing how other people write, seeing what makes other writers effective is a part of learning from one another and affirming ourselves as Caribbean people. We must never become so insular that we assume that our own writing is all that counts.”