Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

News & Features » June 2014 » Dispatch from the Anguilla Lit Fest

Dispatch from the Anguilla Lit Fest

Two weeks ago, managing editor Johanna Ingalls participated as a panelist at the Anguilla Lit Fest in the Lower Antilles and came back smitten with the fair.

officer macdowall

Despite pouring over a thesaurus, I still do not have words to describe the amazing weekend I just spent at the Third Annual Anguilla Lit Fest with Akashic authors Bernice L. McFadden and Montague Kobbé. The incredible warmth and generosity of the Anguilla Tourist Board (the festival organizers) and ALL of the people we came to know on this stunning West Indian island are unparalleled; and while I may sound as if I actually got a job with the Tourist Board while down there . . . I didn’t, but I’m ready to move whenever that offer does come in (hint, hint). For now, I just wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to Candis A. Niles, Stephanie Stokes-Oliver, Reggie, Oliver, Trudy Nixon, Kay Ferguson, Sherille Hughes, everyone at CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and Paradise Cove Resort, Ronya Foy Connor, Sharon Richardson-Lowe, Officer McDowall, and all of their colleagues who helped make this one of the absolute best festivals I’ve ever had the pleasure of participating in!


I also wanted to give a special shout out to some of the people I had the pleasure of meeting and socializing with: Lauren Francis-Sharma (set aside some reading time this summer and pick up her novel, ’Til the Well Runs Dry), A-dZiko Simba (thank you for some of the most spirited—and barefooted—readings of your debut, All Over Again), Ras Takura (thank you for the education and the passion behind your presentation of Food War), Bob Shacochis (for sharing his journey from childhood to National Book Award winning author and Pulitzer Prize finalist), Edward Lewis and Audrey Edwards (for sharing the incredible journey of Essence magazine—the most popular black women’s magazine in history), and Ijahnya Christian (for closing out the festival with a fitting tribute to Anguillan writer Robert Athyli Rogers). It was an honor and pleasure to share the stage with David Daley (editor in chief of Salon.com and publisher of FiveChapters Books and FiveChapters.com) and Yona Deshommes (senior publicist at Strebor/Atria); and to George Henry, Chavoita LeSane, and Mitch Lake—for stepping in when Richard Williams (father of Serena and Venus Williams) was unable to attend and for sharing the remarkable and inspiring story of these legendary superstars and their father’s commitment and unwavering belief in all of his children’s abilities and potentials. Lastly, the weekend would not have been complete without Marisol Alfaro, Gina Tyler, Robin Ogilvie, Angela, Susan, Lynn, Adrian Kobbe, and so many many more. (If I’ve left you off this list I blame the rum punch Candis’s brother made!)


The resounding theme of the festival, it turned out, was dream big, dream often, and don’t give up on your dreams. Thank you all for the inspiration, and I promise my dreams are filled with beautiful Caribbean beaches and rum punch!


Posted: Jun 4, 2014

Category: Akashic in Good Company | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,