Trinidad and Tobago’s eighth annual literary festival, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, is a twin festival, with a full children’s festival running alongside the adult festival from April 25-29 at the National Library in Port of Spain.
“It is a stimulating, exciting programme of events for young readers and writers, who are people too,” Danielle Delon, director of the children’s festival said in a media release. The festival remains a core offering of the Caribbean’s premiere annual literary festival of words, stories and ideas, attracting over 1,000 children each year, the release said.
It starts with the Children’s Storytelling Caravan for five to 13-year-olds, which every April travels around TT, allowing children to share their stories, and there is still time to book a place, the release said. This tour ends in the five-day Children’s Festival at the Children’s Library (Nalis) that ends with a birthday party on April 29 for Dragonzilla, the children’s festival mascot.
During the caravan, storytellers guide children through the craft of storytelling, encouraging observation of the environment, personal, social and community relationships, and unleashing and leading the children’s creativity, inspiring them to value self-expression through the written word. Each year the stories the children create are illustrated and published in a colouring book.
A festival highlight is the Imagine New Worlds event at City Hall, hosted by the Mayor Joel Martinez and the Port of Spain Corporation on April 25. Three hundred children from schools nationwide come together to experience the work of authors, artists and performers from TT and abroad.
Trinidad-born, New York-based editor and educator Tracey Baptiste, US-based Daniel O’Brien, prizewinning writer Imam Baksh from Guyana, Natacha Jones, Jeunanne Alkins, Danielle Boodoo-Fortune, Everard McBain, Derron Sandy, and Kess the Illusionist are all part of the mix.
Readings from children’s books by their authors, illustration and graphic-novel based workshops, as well as a songwriting workshop led by the Freetown Collective, are some of the highlights of the festival Saturday, but there are many creative activities each day.
On April 29, children and family films will be shown as part of the festival’s annual CineLit programme.
All events are free and open to the public but pre-registration is required via www.bocaslitfest.com or call 71-BOCAS.
Title sponsor of the event is the National Gas Company.