Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Anguilla Lit. Fest 2013

The Anguilla Lit Fest a jollification just concluded on the island of Anguilla.
I participated this year as described by the coordinators, "an author/illustrator from USA/Anguilla". I have lived on Anguilla for 20 years and I am a citizen.
I requested and was granted the use of one of the conference rooms as a digital draw room for about 2 hours on the last day of the festival. I am not a great speaker and I wanted to get the kids involved in a part of the illustration process.
The committee requested that I participate in some of the sessions involving the other authors and speakers. By participating they meant fill a seat.
The first day I was asked to participate in a session with school kids at the library.
Before our visit we were treated to a delightful lunch at DaVida. Wow fantastic, I will certainly return.
Did not know what to expect at the library and was surprised when we were all asked to go into different rooms with about 15 kids in each one. I was pointed in the right direction and that was it. I walked into a room full of children and I was on my own from that moment on.
We made do, but it was strange. The kids of course were great and by the end of it we were laughing and having a great time.
That evening an opening cocktail party at Paradise Cove, as usual they did a wonderful job.

Next morning bright and early at Paradise Cove

After a delightful breakfast on the first day we all sat down to listen to the poetry of some local poets. They were on the whole delightful. I especially enjoyed the poetry of
Lasana  Sekou, Poet/Author/Publisher, House of Nehesi Publishers (St. Martin)
His poetry was forceful and thought provoking and he acted out his narrative in a delightful way.
Rita Celestine-Carty, Author/Poet/ Educator
I did not know what to expect as I had never hear Rita before but she was absolutely amazing. Her poetry was simple (in a good way) with a clean message.
Vanessa Croft Thompson, – Poet
I have known Vanessa since before she was born and she has become like her mother an artist, this time of words. Her poetry was heartfelt and she presented it in an interesting style that made you want more.
Next session involved some of the headliners of the event, publishers, editors and agents.
I am sorry to say I was not taken with the talk. To be fair I self-publish but the reason I self publish is because my first publisher took 3 years to publish my book and did a sad job of construction. After the contract ran out I took back my book and have been writing, illustrating and building the books and printing too. We have to do our own promotions but we know our market and our limitations. We even have the listed on Amazon including Kindle books.
The four people involved gave us the same old tired rhetoric you can read in any book or article about being published.
Write the best you can...
Be ready for rejection...
Make sure your manuscript is the best it can be grammar wise.
Name dropping celebrities to keep the audience interested.
At the end of the session they allowed 3 people to ask questions.
The first two fit into the plan and were answered once again with the same la de da speech. The last question came in from someone that had experienced rejections and I was surprised to hear the panelist get a little testy in her answer. Voice changed and she became very defensive. So much for helpful advice.
Draw Digital
My session was on the last day and there were two other sessions scheduled for the same time so it was clear my session was only for children. Too bad as some of the adults were interested in illustration.
I set up two computer stations and 25 children arrived looking a bit apprehensive  I explained that there was no way I could teach them how to draw on a computer in 2 hours but what I wanted to do was give them a good idea on how to get started.
Everybody crowded around the computers taking turns trying out the various programs available today, many of them free. They loved it. It never ceases to amaze me how children jump into something new and go at it with gusto. We even ended up using my new Samsung Note II and they were drawing on that too. Treats were provided by Paradise Cove so everyone had a snack and some digital related gifts I prepared for the session. Everyone exchanged emails and now some of the more interested students are asking for advice. I had one little girl who barely said a word the entire time stay long after the others left, jump up when it was finally almost too late to get the bus and exclaim..."I love this, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this!" as she ran out of the room.
Worth it, I think so.


  1. Very nice Jo - sounds as if you had a good time, and made a difference. I bet that was a gratifying feeling!
    Thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks Ellen, glad it sounded positive.

  2. It did, but you are "no nonsense" and I also felt that you were disappointed in some of the events. I was interested in reading your take on things.