The Bim Literary Festival and Book Fair 2014: “Crossings—Breaking Borders”


Barbados is getting ready for the 2014 Bim LitFest (Bim Literary Festival and Book Fair 2014), an event of national significance. The conference theme is “Crossings: Breaking Borders.” This year’s festival will be staged from May 15-17 in historic Bridgetown’s Independence Square.

Visiting writers for 2014 include:

– Professor Emeritus Edward Baugh (Jamaica): Opening Ceremony Keynote Speaker
– Erma Brodber (Jamaica)
– Evelyne Trouillot (Haiti)
– Ramabai Espinet (Trinidad & Tobago)
– Verna Wilkins (United Kingdom)
– Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné (Trinidad & Tobago)
– Vladimir Lucien (St. Lucia)

They will be joined by an exciting mix of established and emerging Barbados writers such as Shakirah Bourne, Mark Ramsay, Carlyon Blackman, Keoma Mallett and Brian Franklin.

Stimulating panel discussions that explore the migration to Panama and its impact; the question of identities and ethnicities; the ‘crossing’ of sexualities, and the fragile line between sanity and insanity also weave tightly into the 2014 theme. The Bridgetown Literary Tour, a pilot heritage tourism project celebrating the works of Barbadian writers, will be launched during the Festival.

In addition, there will be book fairs, book launches, readings and performances at locations in and around Independence Square including from a boat berthed in the Careenage. The Bim Litfest Children’s Fair, sponsored by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust, which also takes place in the Square is expected to be a huge attraction.

Description and history: The inaugural Bim Literary Festival and Book Fair took place in May 2012.  Its theme was “Words Need Love Too,” a sentiment borrowed from a poem by Barbados’ best-known poet, Kamau Brathwaite. Organized by Writers Ink, a collective of Barbados’ leading novelists and poets, that first festival featured literary giants: Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Alba Prize winner George Lamming and Giller Award winners Austin “Tom” Clarke and Lorna Goodison.

The aim of any literary festival is to engage people with reading, writing and literature.  The Bim LitFest, as it’s already affectionately known, gives writers and readers, editors and agents, that all too rare opportunity to get together, lime, and interact one-on-one.  It’s an opportunity for them and the public to talk about books, why they matter and why they love them.  That this can happen in a place like Barbados, long a stimulating destination for the intellectually passionate and creatively curious, is merely as it should be.

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