Kingston Book Festival (KBF), an eight-day celebration of Jamaica’s literary industry with a strategic focus on promoting literacy and reading in a festive environment, has begun. The Festival kicked off on Sunday, March 4, with Love Affair With Lit at the Neville Hall Lecture Theatre at UWI Mona. Packed with powerful readings from some of Jamaica’s literary giants, as well as an impressive lineup of up-and-comers, the event set the tone for what is expected to be nothing short of a terrific week of events that culminate on Sunday, March 11, at Hope Gardens with the now eagerly anticipated Kingston Book Fair.
KBF includes events for all students, teachers, librarians, writers, publishers, booksellers, literary tourists, socially aware corporations and non-profit organizations. It also features book industry workshops and panel discussions that demonstrate the value of the industry, build capacity, encourage investment in new book technologies and culminates in a book fair that is free to the general public through the support of main sponsor, the CHASE Fund.
The headliners for this year’s festival are especially thrilling:
Marley Dias is a 13 year old author and literary activist. In November 2015, Dias launched a campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks. Her goal was simple: collect and donate 1,000 books that feature black girls as the main character. Today, Dias has accumulated more than 11,000 books. She recently released her first book Marley Gets It Done, So Can You which will be launched on March 10, 2018 at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library, representing the very first launch in the Caribbean.
Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of Here Comes the Sun, a New York Times Notable Book of the year, which was named to NPR, BuzzFeed, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com’s Best Books of 2016 and Kirkus Reviews’ Best Debut Fiction of 2016. Capturing the complexity of gender, class, race, and sexuality in Jamaica, its writing is “as lush as the island itself,” says the Boston Globe. The book is about “women pushed to the edge, Jamaica in all its beauty and fury,” says Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James. Jennifer Senior, book reviewer for the New York Times, describes the novel as a “lithe, artfully-plotted debut.”
Raymond Antrobus is a British-Jamaican poet, performer, editor and educator, born and bred in East London, Hackney. He is one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word education from Goldsmiths University. In 2017 he was awarded 1 of 3 inaugural Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship. Raymond’s work explores themes related to deafness, identity and emotional literacy.
The festival features several events including Author Spotlight, School and Library Tours, Conferences and workshops and the main event – the Book Fair. Hope Gardens is the venue for the Book Fair scheduled for March 11, 2018, and represents a culmination of all the literary players on display. From the Crayons Count children’s tent, panel discussions, readings, interactions with the headliners to games, giveaways and live performances – the Book Fair has something for the entire family and it’s FREE.
The Festival’s Facebook page gives greater detail of what the week will entail.