Bookish Delights: Highlights of the Kingston Book Festival 2016

Last week (March 5 – 12) was a delight. It was the Kingston Book Festival 2016. Spirited discussions took place. There were insightful information sessions, entrancing readings of poetry and prose…and the Kingston Book Fair, bright, noisy and fun. Throughout the week and at every event, there was busy networking, quiet sharing of ideas, mutual enjoyment of the world of books. Here are a few photos I took that I hope will capture a little bit of the week’s activities (in somewhat random order). You will find more photographs on the KBF Facebook page. In addition to these events, there were book donations to a children’s hospital ward, readings at correctional institutions and schools, a Christian book session, and a workshop for publishers and writers. Congratulations to Festival Chair Kellie Magnus and Book Industry Association of Jamaica Chair Latoya West-Blackwood. They worked incredibly hard and at a crazy pace at times, but with the help of their energetic team and thanks to all the sponsors and supporters…it happened, and it was excellent! P.S. Mark your calendars from now: KBF will be back March 4 – 11, 2017!

Children's book writer, educator and blogger Helen "Billy" Elm Williams trekked down from Montego Bay for the Kingston Book Festival. Here is one book she bought and had signed by the author...
Children’s book writer, educator and blogger Helen “Billy” Elm Williams trekked down from Montego Bay for the Kingston Book Festival. Here is one book she bought and had signed by the author…
Publisher and children's book writer Tanya Batson-Savage (who also runs the awesome arts website susumba.com) at her Blue Moon Publishing booth.
Publisher and children’s book writer Tanya Batson-Savage (who also runs the awesome arts website susumba.com) at her Blue Moon Publishing booth.

 

Kingston Book Festival Chair Kellie Magnus at the Kingston Book Fair, an all-day event at Devon House which attracted old and young alike. The message is a good one!
Kingston Book Festival Chair Kellie Magnus at the Kingston Book Fair, an all-day event at Devon House which attracted old and young alike. The message is a good one!
Panelists Troy Johnson, founder and CEO of the African American Literature Book Club (l) and Publisher at Tradewind Books Michael Katz chatting at the "Business of Books" panel discussion hosted by JAMPRO.
Panelists Troy Johnson, founder and CEO of the African American Literature Book Club (l) and Publisher at Tradewind Books Michael Katz chatting at the “Business of Books” panel discussion hosted by JAMPRO.
The Akwaaba drummers gave a fiery performance at the launch of "The Pain Tree."
The Akwaaba drummers gave a fiery performance at the launch of “The Pain Tree.”
Toronto-based Jamaican writer Olive Senior is sitting in the audience at the University of the West Indies, during the launch of her book of short stories "The Pain Tree."
Toronto-based Jamaican writer Olive Senior is sitting in the audience at the University of the West Indies, during the launch of her book of short stories “The Pain Tree.”
With the animation conference Kingstoon on the horizon, young writers, educators, illustrators and animators gathered at the Spanish Court Hotel to try to bring together some skills and synergies. It was very well attended and coordinated by Jack Mandora's Kellie Magnus.
With the animation conference Kingstoon on the horizon, young writers, educators, illustrators and animators gathered at the Spanish Court Hotel to try to bring together some skills and synergies. It was very well attended and coordinated by Jack Mandora’s Kellie Magnus.

 

Members of the LBT lobby group WE-Change were also present. This new organization is skilled at telling stories through social media.
Members of the LBT lobby group WE-Change were also present at “Storytelling for Social Change.” This new organization is skilled at telling stories through social media.
Dramatist and poet Fabian Thomas gave his own inimitable interpretation of "Storytelling for Social Change" at the University of the West Indies.
Dramatist and poet Fabian Thomas gave his own inimitable interpretation of “Storytelling for Social Change” at the University of the West Indies.
Yashika Graham read some nostalgic "country girl" poems. Big ups to the Poetry Society of Jamaica!
Yashika Graham read some nostalgic “country girl” poems. Big ups to the Poetry Society of Jamaica!

 

The audience enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
The audience in New Kingston were very engaged.
It was Susumba's Brown Bag Lunch, and a humid lunchtime in busy New Kingston. An appreciative audience nibbled on offerings from, among others, novelist Roland Watson-Grant - who had a twist in his tale!
It was Susumba’s Brown Bag Lunch, and a humid lunchtime in busy New Kingston. An appreciative audience nibbled on offerings from, among others, novelist Roland Watson-Grant. There was a twist in his tale!
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Youth Dr. Maurice Smith is so enthusiastic, it's infectious. I wish I could speak like that, without any notes whatsoever!
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Youth Dr. Maurice Smith is so enthusiastic, it’s infectious. I wish I could speak like that, without any notes whatsoever!
Kingston Book Festival was pleased to support the launch of the LAC Reads Program, funded by USAID - a five-year regional program in eight countries. Jamaica came on board in 2015. The aim of the program is to create a community of practice in these countries. LAC Reads in Jamaica aims to build capacity and will not be a schools-based program, but a policy-based one in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
Kingston Book Festival was pleased to support the launch of the LAC Reads Program, funded by USAID – a five-year regional program in eight countries. Jamaica came on board in 2015. The aim of the program is to create a community of practice in these countries. LAC Reads in Jamaica aims to build capacity and will not be a schools-based program, but a policy-based one in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.

 

BIAJ Chair Latoya West-Blackwood joined last year's National Reading Champions for a photo op at the Jamaica Library Service headquarters. This year, Fontana Pharmacy and the Sandals Foundation came on board as new private sector sponsors.
BIAJ Chair Latoya West-Blackwood joined last year’s National Reading Champions for a photo op at the Jamaica Library Service headquarters. This year, Fontana Pharmacy and the Sandals Foundation came on board as new private sector sponsors.
The Kingston Book Festival places the highest priority on literacy - and love of reading. Here National Reading Champion 2015 Jade Mullings told us how important the National Reading Competition was for her development, at the launch of the 2016 edition.
The Kingston Book Festival places the highest priority on literacy – and love of reading. Here National Reading Champion 2015 Jade Mullings told us how important the National Reading Competition was for her development, at the launch of the 2016 edition.
Award-winning poet Vladimir Lucien read from his "Sounding Ground" in his lovely lilting St. Lucia accent.
Award-winning poet Vladimir Lucien read from his “Sounding Ground” in his lovely lilting St. Lucia accent.
The Love Affair with Literature at the University of the West Indies' Department of Literatures in English was a Sunday morning to be treasured. Book lovers - and writers such as Diane Browne, in foreground, happily absorbed.
The Love Affair with Literature at the University of the West Indies’ Department of Literatures in English was a Sunday morning to be treasured. Book lovers – and writers such as Diane Browne, in foreground, happily absorbed.
Beautiful people: (l-r) Latoya West-Blackwood, BIAJ; Tanya Shirley, poet/UWI; A-dZiko Simba Gegele, writer; Vladimir Lucien, poet; Olive Senior, writer/poet; Mel Cooke, poet; and Kellie Magnus, writer and KBF chair.
Beautiful people: (l-r) Latoya West-Blackwood, BIAJ; Tanya Shirley, poet/UWI; A-dZiko Simba Gegele, writer; Vladimir Lucien, poet; Olive Senior, writer/poet; Mel Cooke, poet; and Kellie Magnus, writer and KBF chair at “Love Affair with Literature.”
It was a great launch in the heart of downtown...
It was a great launch in the heart of downtown…
Our talented readers. The young man on the right growled his way beautifully through a reading of Marlon James' "A Brief History of Seven Killings."
Our talented readers. The young man on the right growled his way beautifully through a reading of Marlon James’ “A Brief History of Seven Killings.”
F&B Downtown on Harbour Street was the warm and cozy venue for the opening cocktails (and substantial nibbles). There were some great readings, including from Diana McCaulay's lovely third novel "Gone to Drift." Here the author is chatting with Bookophilia's David Thomas.
F&B Downtown on Harbour Street was the warm and cozy venue for the opening cocktails (and substantial nibbles). There were some great readings, including from Diana McCaulay’s lovely third novel “Gone to Drift.” Here the author is chatting with Bookophilia’s David Thomas.

 


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