Chairman of The Nature Island Literary Festival and Book Fair organizing committee, Dr. Alwin Bully, says he believes that after five years, the event has impacted various aspects of Dominica’s cultural life.
“Well the vision statement basically deals with the question of promoting writing and reading, and to look at writing as a valid career choice in terms of a cultural industry and the need to train people through workshops etc and the creation of effective festivals in order to get out the message.” Bully stated.
Based on that vision, Bully told DNO at the end of this year’s festival on Sunday, that the popular DBS Primary Schools Reading Competition, supported by the Ministry of Education and Courts, though not an initiative of the festival organizers, is an example of an activity he thinks has been influenced by the event.
“I feel that there was an influence because we have been doing a children’s work shop for the last five years, separate from the adult’s workshop promoting and basically talking about it on the air and so forth which I’m sure gives ideas to other people but that’s great because that’s precisely what it’s all about.”Bully said.
According to him, the influence of the festival has also been manifested in an increase in the rate at which book launches having been occurring over the last five years, including several cases of local and internet publishing. He cited the increased participation of young people in three or four writing groups which, although they existed in the past, he believes got a “new life” from the festival.
Added to that Dr. Bully said, is the impact of the readers who have been coming from overseas and who, themselves, have been struggling with those same issues at home.
“So, I’d say I see signs out of the community that there is a better understanding of the role of writing and literature and publishing as a career choice and this can only augur well for the development of our people”. concluded the former the former UNESCO Cultural Adviser.
The National Literary Festival and Book Fair which ran from Friday evening to Sunday evening, had as guest writers Caribbean literary giant, George Lamming and leading St. Martin writer Lasano Seko.
Presenters also included Dominican author and jurist, based in Canada, Justice Dr. Irving Andre and several other Dominican and Caribbean writers and poets.