Books & Beaches: Inside Anguilla’s Literary Festival
Before I heard distinguished author Nikki Giovanni read her poetry,
Before I watched the moon rise above the palm trees at my villa in CuisinArt Resort,
Before I dived into a platter of crayfish bathed in fragrant coconut curry butter,
And even before I walked on a beach of crushed seashells and swam in the cool ocean at dawn,
I knew I’d love Anguilla LitFest 2013.
For me, books and beaches are a perfect match.
The five-day event is a celebration of literature, arts and culture that takes place the third week of May (mark your calendar for May 22-25, 2014) and its theme a “Literary Jollification” is a heady mix of Caribbean sunshine, music, food and everything literary. In addition to Headline speakers such as activist-author Nikki Giovanni, TV personality-author Touré, Haitian author Edwidge Danticot and Judith Carr President of Atria Publishing Group, the days were filled with panel discussions and opportunities to mingle with agents, authors, dignitaries, publishers and other media such as the inspiring Tracey Friley of One Brown Girl, crazy-crazy elegant Donna Chin Lee of MACO Caribbean Living and glamazon Tymarra Lewis from L A.
Given the Anguilla LitFest is only in its second year, its intimate size made it easy to talk to everyone. In one evening, I chatted with Alistair Harrison, His Excellency the Governor of Anguilla, Candis A. Niles the Director of Anguilla Tourism and then enjoyed dinner seated beside the super-sassy pair Nikki Giovanni and Virginia Fowler at Viceroy Anguilla’s Cobà. I even met legendary Reggae artist Bankie Banx not once but twice.
During the sessions held at pretty Paradise Cove Resort, I chatted with literary agents and talked to many, many authors about the joys and challenges of writing. I’ve been to a lot of Writers Conferences and Workshops and know that such access is a rare opportunity indeed. At many other conferences the focus is on marketing, building your brand, polishing your pitch or mastering social media.
Ultimacy Villa Retreat was the setting for an evening cocktail party
So, although I’ll never forget the endless beaches, the incredible cuisine and the warm Anguilla hospitality, what I really took home was a renewed commitment to the craft of writing. And, there’s no better outcome from a writer’s conference than that.
“Your writing is not a commodity, it is your soul.”
IF YOU GO
Dates: May 19-22, 2016
Cost: Lit Fest packages start at $900 for two persons in a studio suite for 4 nights in 2016
The conference offers a selection of writer-friendly Host Hotels. I was a media guest at two unforgettable properties:
CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa Phone 264.498.2000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Shoal Bay Villas: Phone 264-497-2051 or email email@example.com
Anguilla Tourist Board: Phone 800-553-4939
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