If things go as planned, there could be some more money to spend in organizing the next Nature Island Literary Festival and Book Fair (NILF).
With lingering music from the sound system drifting through the night air at Mero beach on Sunday August 11, a physically tired but otherwise satisfied event chairman, Alwin Bully, told Dominica News Online that inadequate funding continues to be the biggest challenge facing the festival.
” It costs money to stage a festival like this. You’re trying to bring in people from the rest of the world practically. If we could afford it, we’d bring people from Africa, we’d bring people from Asia, we’d bring people from South America. We just can’t afford it. So finding a source of funding that would let us do the festival to the level that we really would like to, has been top,” Bully remarked.
But things could change over the next three years if the interest shown by some agencies in funding the festival, materializes. “Really, that would be a dream,” he said, “and not only the festival but the interim period between the festivals, very very important. Because the festival takes place in the vacation period, holiday period, we don’t quite capture the full audience, neither the teachers nor the students. So we know that we need to work more in the schools during the term period getting them into competitions, getting them into elocution contests, developing their confidence as public speakers, reading in public, trying their hand at poetry and short story and encouraging them with linking it to things say, like television,” he pointed out.
“Filming a story written by a kid; making a movie out of it even if it’s a small movie for Dominican audiences alone and then going bigger and bigger as they develop those skills showing that writing has all those possibilities of film, television, radio, journalism, writing of novels, writing of journals, reportage etc. The range is vast,” Bully enthused
By then, the beach was emptying out as several members of an appreciative last day audience were making their way home.
Sitting on the edge of a local canoe pulled up on the beach, Bully exuded the feeling of someone who was satisfied with the results of the hard work that had gone into the preparation of the sixth staging of the literary festival. He said in terms of the objectives of the festival, it will take at least ten years to get people into reading or writing in a serious way but he noted that there were signs of it happening and praised the DBS Radio, Ministry of Education national reading competition.
“Those young kids themselves are going to be writers in a very short time. Give them five to six years and they’re going to start writing. We already have some examples with people like Giselle Pierre. Giselle is just about 14 years old with four or five plays already and three or four more up her sleeves getting ready to write. That’s a phenomenal type of experience happening here from young people that’s reading and writing and to me that’s all tied in to a festival like this,” Bully remarked.
He said the Mero Beach aspect of the festival will continue next year and efforts will also be made to take the event to other parts of the country.
This year, the festival honoured Martiniquan writer, politician and intellectual the late Aime Cesaire.
Presenters included Antiguan writer, D’orbrenne O’marde of Antigua and two overseas-based Dominican writers among others.