ALISHA ALLY Star Reporter December 23, 2010


It is truly lamentable the number of local literature on the island’s school syllabus.  Many nationals are unaware of the actual number of published authors birthed from this isle.  Derek Walcott has brought the Nobel Prize for Literature home and is perhaps one of the authors foremost in the minds of St Lucians.  However, the works of Garth St Omer, Rick Wayne, Roderick Walcott, McDonald Dixon, John Robert Lee and Kendell Hipployte are widely renowned regionally and internationally.

Perhaps one of the reasons attributed to veiled publicity of our authors is the marketing strategy.  On the other hand, critics have disputed the content of some publications are far above the capacity of an average St Lucian.  The reality is most St Lucian literature, fiction and non-fiction, are autobiographical, historical or cultural, which is appropriate since a lot of St Lucian history and culture is not widely documented.  As a coworker pointed out, the content of a Tom Clancy, John Grisham or Danielle Steel novel may be more appealing than shelling out cash to read a local author’s creation, poetry or prose.

In a society where the recurring theme is ‘St Lucian’s don’t read,’ authors from around the island came together to put their original works on display to attempt to break that notion.  The book fair was organized by Digital Connections St Lucia Inc and Visionary Investment Consultants.
The two companies are fairly new to the arena.  Syreeta Alcee from Digital Connections just published a book entitled A Better Life.  Edward Harris of Visionary Investment Consultants joined the writing fraternity about four months ago and has since published three projects.  The two companies decided to invite local published authors to display their works.

The formal opening for the book fair was on Tuesday December 14 at the Castries Town Hall.  The fair ran from Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 6pm.  Admission was free.  Unfortunately, the organizers reported slow traffic for the enterprise.

The STAR toured the Town Hall and saw works by Dr Anderson Reynolds, the Folk Research Center, Victor Marquis, Stephen Dantes, Lisa Evans, Michael Aubertin, Modest Downs, Jacques Compton and Judith Verity among others.

Edward Harris spoke to the STAR, saying authors are trying to rupture the illiteracy plaguing the island.  “It’s going to take some time to break.  The Ministry of Education understands this and they are going to be putting out, in the primary schools, programs to arrest that situation.  The children will begin to read and the parents are likely to join.”

For the businessman turned author, Harris revealed some of the plans for the new year.  He said. “It’s amazing how many local published authors we have.  The industry is at a point where we need to get it organized.  For example, many of the authors are using publishers that are not in their best interest.  There are several ways to approach the literary publishing business, which we will adopt in the New Year.  There’s going to be a company in the coming year as we advance the way forward.”

According to Harris, some of the best writers have already indicated an interest in being part of the company.      “The situation demands in today’s world, that no one person can achieve the level of success that a group of people can achieve,” he told the STAR.  He continued, “We’re working towards that.  The consensus is that we should approach it that way.  We have the commitment of writers to ensure that it works.”

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