Chairman of The Nature Island Literary Festival and Book Fair Organizing Committee, Dr. Alwin Bully, has said that the committee is going to seriously consider changing the date of the festival in an effort to facilitate attendance at the event by more school children.
“My major concern is the fact that we haven’t been able to draw the schools in in large numbers and the teachers, both the schools and the teachers. I think that once the schools are on vacation it’s hard to get the kids in” explained Dr. Bully.
“We’re not afraid of changing our date. We’re one group of people that’s not afraid to change our dates. So, if necessary, we’re going to do that and ensure that we have better access to the shools so they can come in groups, they can participate better as artistes because they are getting into writing and so forth” he told DNO at the end of the 5th edition of the festival last weekend.
He said one of two schools scheduled to perform, didn’t show up because the students “were scattered out on vacation, some of them were traveling and so forth and were somehow, not able to get it together”
Frequent rain during this time of year is also one of the contributing factors to Bully’s decision to press for a change of date.
Regarding public patronage of this year’s event, Dr. Bully said it varied from “a full house on Friday night to not so good on Saturday and Sunday”. He said he was nonetheless encouraged by the turn out, given the weather conditions on those days.
“The fact that people came out in the rain, a serious number of people came out in the rain tells me that people are seriously interested” Bully stated.
He said the large numbers of people responding to the workshops was a ‘very positive sign’ of a growing festival.“All the workshops on the Saturday were full. We had like thirty people and twenty-five people in these workshops and that’s a good number for a Saturday morning and of course the tutors were top quality tutors, free to the public”, he stated.
Bully said the festival organizers also feel that they need to have a continuous presence throughout the year, by organizing other workshops. “so providing workshops , other events in the course of the year and even possibly looking at a magazine, a literary magazine, are things that we have on the drawing board and if we can achieve this I’ll be a very happy man.”
Bully feels that panel discussions on controversial topics such as press freedom in Dominica and bouyon music helped to draw people to the festival.
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