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U.S.V.I. Literary Festival & Book Fair: April 13-16, 2023

by Alscess Lewis-Brown, UVI adjunct Professor and Editor of The Caribbean Writer, Chair
Reprinted from St. Croix This Week
Some early experiences leave such imprints on us that they often define our lives in the same way, that even if the experience is vicarious not ours, personally, but that of a family member a friend or even a particular set of people or a community, they evoke a certain life shaping resolve or a level of social empathy that we carry with us in our writings, readings and outings.
The VI Lit Fest’s 2023 theme, Carrying: Recognition and Repair is a reflection of that idea.
Painting by Alexis Camarena
The old mill set in the context of new growth providing support for the old burnt tree in Alexis Camarena’s painting is a metaphor for this “Carrying” experience. Covered with old and new life, we recognize that there is a certain beauty in this pairing and so consider the promises of an appropriate repair.
Our Ekphrastic poetry writing competition is based on the 2023 poster image. Submissions will be accepted in 3 categories: middle school, high school, anyone beyond high school.
Send in your submission to usvilitfest@gmail.com by April 12th. Winners will be announced at our AfterWord poetry reading session at Cane Roots Art Gallery in Christiansted.
Write your poem and come to share. Seating is limited so sign up early at Eventbrite.com.
THURS APR 13. The Pre Lit Fest activities kick off at 9AM virtually via ZOOM with young authors, writing workshops, children’s author readings and interviews.
High Schoolers will present excerpts from books written on two Virgin Islands Governors-the biography of Ralph M. Plawonsky and Governor Alexander Farelly’s major speeches anthologized by Dr. Carlyle Corbin.
We also will celebrate four unsung Virgin Islands authors – Dr. Valarie Combie, author, professor, The Caribbean Writer Board member and our first VI Lit Fest Chair, who is retiring this year from UVI, Dr. Vincent Cooper, author, The Caribbean Writer Board member and sponsor, recently retired UVI professor; Dr. Roberta Knowles, author, editor retired UVI professor, and Joan Medlicott, of Jewish ancestry, born and raised in St. Thomas Virgin Islands and a former V.l. government employee, is an award winning author of close to 20 novels.
She is best known locally for her first books Belonging and Virgin Islands Tales of Ghosts, Hauntings, and Jumbees set in St. Thomas.
Medlicott lives in the U.S. and is no longer able to read or write or acknowledge our tribute but her son, Damon Rumsch and his wife Paula, will accept our tribute and present on her behalf.
Keynote Panel for the Literary Festival & Book Fair

FRI APR 14. We open at 9am at the UVI Great Hall with a keynote panel of best-selling authors. They include Charmaine Wilkerson, author of Black Cake, Kei Miller, author of Augustown, Alicia McKenzie, author of A Million Aunties, and others.

Authors will be reading and providing writing workshops.
Our Live Book Bacchanal is at Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts (CMCA), Strand Street, Frederiksted, in the evening from 4 to 8PM.
Authors will be present to sign books and read from their works and take questions.
SAT APR 15. Saturday morning, from 7-9am, is our now famous Bush Tea Morning Social – complete with an island-style breakfast and entertainment. The social will feature a presentation and readings at 9 by Elizabeth Nunez, author of Now Lila Knows.
Local authors, Jamaican dubb poet and author, Ras Takurah, Puerto Rican poet, Anna Portnoy Brimmer, and other local poets will also have an opportunity to read from their works. There will be workshops as well.
Saturday evening, from 4 to 6PM at Cane Roots Art Gallery, Company Street Christiansted, there will be author readings, local poetry readings and an announcement of the Ekphrastic poetry competition winners.
SUN APR 16. Sunday afternoon, from 2 to 6PM, we feature our Book Bacchanal via Zoom with readings from The Caribbean Writer and other authors from the VI, the region, and around the world, will briefly introduce their work and read excerpts to the online audience.
Register & Purchase Tickets at: EVENTBRITE.COM
The Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair, Inc. is a non-profit company incorporated and registered in the US Virgin Islands. Its 501e (3) status is under the banner of the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development.

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