MY LIFE BEFORE AND AFTER LIT FEST Raising conscious awareness on how life changing the Anguilla Lit Fest has been for an accomplished writer

By anguillian May 16, 2016 09:21 Updated




Tuesday, 10th May 2016 (North Side, Anguilla) — Next week we will celebrate the 5th Annual Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification. As a writer and someone who has been writing stories since the age of five or six years, attending this event for the past four years has transformed my life into what I really desire it to be.

Seven weeks before the first Lit Fest in May 2012, I was let go from full-time employment where I utilised my extensive business writing skills. It really was not a devastating experience because my inner wisdom showed where I was working wasn’t where I was supposed to be, according to Jah’s Divine Plan. Sometimes we hang on to a position because we’re fearful of stepping out on our own and forget God is the conductor of our life’s orchestra, always knowing what is planned for each individual soul.

Though I wasn’t pleased with how the employer fired me, I accepted the job loss as being what was best for my highest self. I trusted the Supreme Creator to open new doors of opportunity, and that is exactly what happened. Not being employed gave me free reign to attend all activities of the first Anguilla Lit Fest. From there, I shot forward being totally inspired to pursue my passion for creative writing.

Since then I engage my God-given writing skills as an opinion-editor for the local newspaper. The divine mission, revealed to me, was to write about various subjects impacting our lives in the Anguilla community and raise conscious awareness on them. I also utilise social media and compose words in a similar manner posting thoughts, contemplations, positive messages, challenging other people’s perspectives, and share personal experiences to teach life’s lessons.

Poetry is another area that I’ve explored since attending Lit Fest. I’d written poems in high school in Wiesbaden, Germany, but hadn’t had a poetic piece in print until last year. My poem “I Am a Revolutionary” was selected for the anthology Where I See the Sun—Contemporary Poetry in Anguilla edited by Lasana M. Sekou and published by House of Nehesi Publishers in Saint Martin. This poem, plus four others, was inspired by my participation in the second Anguilla Lit Fest in 2013 whilst listening to spoken words of Jamaican Dub Poet, and Edutainer, YASUS AFARI. As well, I judged “poetry on the page” for the 2015 Malliouhana Poetry Competition and have performed as one of the Anguilla Under Ground Poets.
None of these opportunities would have come alive for me had I not been a part of the Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification. I wouldn’t have had close and personal encounters with bestseller, Pulitzer Prize nominated, international authors and actors like Terry McMillan, Hill Harper, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Randall Robinson, Nikki Giovanni, Touré, Edward Lewis, Bernice McFadden, Bob Shacochis, J. Ivy and Krista Bremer. Nor met Caribbean authors and Reggae artists, whom I have come to admire, like A-dZiko Gegele Simba, Joanne C. Hillhouse and Ras Takura along with Elizabeth Nuñez, Lauren Francis-Sharma, Gillian Royce and Edwidge Danticat, whose books I have in my personal library. I would not have interacted with editors and publicists such as Leigh Haber of O, The Oprah Magazine and Yona Deshommes of Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
I may never have realised all the poets, spoken word artists, bloggers, playwrights and writers whom we have residing on this small island of Anguilla. Neither would I have taken the creative writing course taught by Susan L. Sayre at the Anguilla Community College, which inspired me to start writing more of my own stories such as life as a young Arawak girl and the Nativity Story that I wrote creating my own language at six years of age whilst attending Dr Tripletts Primary School in England.

Along with these experiences that have come from my life being involved with the Lit Fest, I was one of the featured “Pride of Anguilla” local authors in 2014 who was interviewed by a young writer, Nandi Edwards, and her schoolmate. In addition, I served as the Master of Ceremonies in 2015 and was an author liaison in 2013 and 2014, and drove some of the regional authors around the island showcasing what Anguilla has to offer. As well, I have been a Lit Fest planning team member since 2013.

These are golden connections and experiences that I value to this day and which I will cherish the memories of for as long as I live my life as a writer. I continue to be inspired by the Anguilla Lit Fest and to be committed to the cause of promoting literacy, literature and the literary arts. So much so that I passed up a family holiday to Maui, Hawaii, just so that I could stay on island to help organise this year’s literary jollification and be a part of the original team members who have now officially registered the organising committee as the Anguilla Literary Foundation.

Now these are lifetime achievements that I am proud to share with others. They’ve certainly given my life an enlightening purpose. I encourage all of us to find our purpose in life and to get involved in local communities wherever we reside. Knowing God’s divine purpose helps keep our lives focussed on the positive and allows us to compassionately give back to others, paying forward so we receive when we’re in need. Who knows what may happen in my life after this year’s literary jollification? The opportunities are limitless.

So please come join all of us who love reading, writing and thinking at this year’s 5th Anguilla Lit Fest. Take part in supporting this literacy, literature and literary arts initiative for our Caribbean island community. Listen to local authors and publishers like Don Mitchell, Ivenia Benjamin, Chris Richardson, Alexis Gumbs, Trudy Nixon, Fiona Wilkinson, Shellecia Brooks-Johnson and Timothy Hodge. Buy hot off the press books like Teacher Hyacinth Hughes’ Sweet River Song. Have a fun evening of Caribbean Stories entertainment with Paul Keens-Douglas from Trinidad.
We don’t want to miss this year’s headliners including Jamaican Colin Channer, founder of the Calabash International Literary Festival and author of three of my favourite novels, Waiting in Vain, Satisfy My Soul and Passing Through, all of which are in my collection of books by Caribbean writers. Reading them helped my imagination survive many years in the cold climate of the Pacific Northwest region in North America when I longed to be home on Da Rock surrounded by “Tranquillity Wrapped in Blue”.

Buy your tickets at the Anguilla Library Service, Paradise Cove Resort and Anguilla Tourist Board. Early bird, special resident rates are valid until May 12th. For further details on who’s coming, registration and accommodations, visit the website

May we all be inspired to achieve greater heights in the creative and literary arts! Let’s lift up our nation with the blessings of the Most High by encouraging everyone to read, write and think positively.

Kay M. Ferguson, who writes under the nom de plume Empress Extraordinaire, is a free-spirited writer who composes word sounds to inspire and uplift humanity. She serves on the Public Relations and Communications Team for the Anguilla Literary Foundation, organiser of the 5th annual Anguilla Lit Fest. Find the Empress and “i-nect” with her on social media at or link with her via email at empress

By anguillian May 16, 2016 09:21 Updated


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