The Best Lit Fest Ever!

By anguillian June 6, 2016 09:59 Updated




Pride of Anguilla

Pride of Anguilla

Soaring registration, packed presentations, a sell-out evening event with comedic storyteller Paul Keens-Douglas, expanded education programme and exceptional feedback from participants positions Anguilla’s “Books and Beaches” festival as one of the best and most enjoyable literary festivals in the world.

The Anguilla Lit Fest – a Literary Jollification – took place at Paradise Cove Resort and supporting venues such as CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and Government House, from May 19th to 22nd 2016, and attracted the largest number of registrants since its inception in 2012. The three-day festival for writers and thinkers included presentations, workshops and panel discussions as well as many social events. The festival also benefited over 100 local school children who were invited to attend events and activities. The ‘Jollification’ was described by one of the headliners, Colin Channer, critically acclaimed writer and founder of Jamaica’s Calabash Literary Festival, as “One of the best festivals I have ever attended.”

Kate White, New York Times bestselling author and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, who spoke to a huge crowd on“Top 3 Gutsy Guy/Girl Secrets for Writing and Everything Else in Life,” said “What an incredible event. I feel so lucky to have been included. It was just awesome on every level… This wasn’t just a literary festival. This was a chance for different cultures to meet and merge and learn from each other.”

Lit Fest’s educational programme “The Champions Pursuit of Literary” makes the festival particularly memorable for invited authors – who are offered the opportunity to attend sessions at Anguilla’s Public Library with primary school children. High school students were invited to attend the festival on Friday and actively participate in sessions – often asking the most pertinent questions. Alafair Burke, New York Times bestselling author, and a member of the mystery writers’ panel discussion “Crime that Pays,” said, “Where the focus of many author events is on the sale of a recent book, this was a celebration of authors’ ideas, craft, and hearts. The theme of the festival – A Literary Jollification – captures the idea of coming together for enjoyment and in common service.“

PKD and CC

Mr. Paul Keens-Douglas and Mr. Cardigan Connor

Every year local talent is highlighted in the form of “Pride of Anguilla” writers who shine during the Saturday morning breakfast presentation. This year a selection of poets, bloggers, memoirists and novelists performed – some receiving standing ovations. Many writers cited attending previous Lit Fests as their inspiration.

Hon Cardigan Connor, Parliamentary Secretary Tourism and Sports, said, “The Government of Anguilla is committed to being part of an event that appeals not only to our residents but also to visitors in search of authentic island experiences, while at the same time enabling the preservation, celebration and enhancement of our literary heritage as a people.”

New for 2016 was the addition of memoir writing workshops for children, seniors and delegates from award-winning author Krista Bremer, who presented at Lit Fest 4, fell in love with the island and its people and offered to come back to help islanders ‘tell their stories. Also a sold-out “Literary Speed Dating” sessions – where aspiring writers got individual appointments to pitch their work – with Johanna Ingalls, the managing editor of Akashic Books.

The Lit Fest closed with a stunning signature event, “An Evening of Caribbean Stories,” with Paul Keens Douglas.” Anguillians and overseas delegates roared with laughter as the master storyteller entertained. He shared the stage with local talent – Anguillian poets and spoken word artists.

The pretty and intimate garden/poolside setting – coupled with fun-filled evening events – ensure that networking is a key component of the festival. Attendees make friends for life. Repeat Lit Fest delegate, Lorraine Rowe, from Brooklyn, said: “The Lit Fest was so amazing because it is a reflection of who you all are. Your combined strengths, sensibilities, and spirits made for an unforgettable experience. Each day at the Lit Fest/Love Fest I fell head over heels for talented artists, openhearted students, straight-talking elders, beautiful new friends. I brought a piece of you home with me. Thanks for making me feel so alive.”

The organisers are happy to announce that next years Anguilla Lit Fest will take place 18 – May 2017 and is already designated as a run-up event to the May 30, 2017, celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution. For more information please visit the website: or contact committee members Trudy Nixon or Kay Ferguson on

– Contributed

By anguillian June 6, 2016 09:59 Updated


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