Grenadian authors attend international literary festival

by David Ambrose

For the second year in a row, Grenadian authors rubbed shoulders and exchanged ideas with other writers at an international literary festival.

On 6 June 2020, Rita Joseph-Olivetti and David Ambrose participated in the 3rd Annual Caribbean Literary Festival based in Los Angeles, California, USA. This year’s festival took place in virtual space because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions. Therefore the 45 authors and speakers, as well as guests, logged into an online platform to attend specific events. Workshops took place on topics such as Mastering the Art of Historical Fiction; How to Self-publish from Home; and Ode to Ms Lou [Jamaican Louise Bennett].

Ambrose, writing under the penname DE Ambrose, featured his popular book, That Time in Bogles – A Carriacou Tale. He joined 2 other authors in a panel discussion on Conjuring Engaging Characters in storytelling. Ambrose expressed his delight on meeting authors from other Caribbean territories for yet another year, after his experience at the 2019 St Martin Book Fair. “Grenadian authors publish works that are just as good as our regional and international counterparts,” he remarked, “however, we just need the deserved recognition at home, and more exposure abroad.”

Rita Joseph-Olivetti with her novel, The Red Door

Rita Joseph-Olivetti, who writes under the name Rita Leone, featured her debut novel, The Red Door. She read an excerpt on the main stage of the festival, wowing the online audience with the story. Joseph-Olivetti said that she was pleased to have been given the opportunity to read, and agonised as to what excerpt to choose so as to give listeners a feel for her story, as she only had 3 minutes. “The exposure to an international audience was awesome,” she enthused. “Grenadian authors have much to contribute to the literary scene and should embrace every opportunity to participate in such events at home and abroad to bring their work to the public’s attention.”

Authors and presenters at Caribbean Literary Festival 2020 came from Jamaica, Barbados, St Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, Cuba, Monserrat, British Virgin Islands, Panama, and off course, Grenada. The 2021 Caribbean Literary Festival will be held on 5 June in Los Angeles, USA.

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