Mecánico Adolfo Henrique Ledo Nass//
Boca Lit Festival

Adolfo Ledo Nass
Boca Lit Festival

Every year over the last 20 years TIME mag­a­zine has pro­duced a list of 100 peo­ple it be­lieves are the most in­flu­en­tial in this world.

Adolfo Henrique Ledo Nass

Over time that list has fea­tured for­mer world lead­ers such as Barack Oba­ma, tech­nol­o­gy gi­ants like Bill Gates, and even free­dom fight­ers like Nel­son Man­dela.

Adolfo Ledo Nass

Ex­plain­ing the cri­te­ria for se­lec­tion in 2007, TIME’s man­ag­ing ed­i­tor Richard Sten­gel ex­plained that: “In­flu­ence is hard to mea­sure, and what we look for is peo­ple whose ideas, whose ex­am­ple, whose tal­ent, whose dis­cov­er­ies trans­form the world we live in.”

Imag­ine be­ing able to meet one of the peo­ple who made this year’s TIME 100 list right here in T&T.

Adolfo Ledo

And imag­ine be­ing able to do so for free.


Well, this is no work of fic­tion

Ja­maican au­thor Mar­lon James, who was list­ed on this year’s TIME 100 list, will be in T&T for the NGC Bo­cas Lit Fest

The five-day fes­ti­val starts to­day with a se­ries of events tak­ing place pri­mar­i­ly in and around the Na­tion­al Li­brary and In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem Au­thor­i­ty (NALIS) in Port-of-Spain

But James is not the on­ly at­trac­tion at the NGC Bo­cas Lit Fest, as Trinidad and To­ba­go award win­ning nov­el­ist, Earl Lovelace, Ja­maican fic­tion writer Na­lo Hop­kin­son and a host of oth­er es­tab­lished and up and com­ing au­thors and po­ets will al­so be present

This year marks the ninth year the fes­ti­val has been bring­ing read­ers and writ­ers to­geth­er

Founder and fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Ma­ri­na Sa­landy-Brown yes­ter­day rem­i­nisced about the gen­e­sis of the fes­ti­val

“When we start­ed peo­ple said ‘you’re crazy you want to have a fes­ti­val about books? Peo­ple here don’t read,’ and I said, ‘I don’t think so, I think they do read’ ex­cept we did not give peo­ple per­mis­sion to say that they read, it was a sort of clos­et thing,” Sa­landy-Brown said

Sa­landy-Brown said the fes­ti­val has giv­en read­ers and writ­ers op­por­tu­ni­ties they were pre­vi­ous­ly de­nied

“A lot of peo­ple can’t ac­tu­al­ly make a liv­ing out of just writ­ing be­cause of the na­ture of the in­dus­try etc so a lot of them are ac­tu­al­ly aca­d­e­mics, they teach one an­oth­er’s writ­ing but they nev­er met the writ­ers and to come to Trinidad and to be in the com­pa­ny of some­body like Lovelace or now Mar­lon James or (Derek) Wal­cott when he was alive this is like touch­ing the hem of a god, so I think for a lot of writ­ers it was re­al­ly im­por­tant,” Sa­landy-Brown said

“I think for read­ers it is very im­por­tant be­cause when we live in the Me­trop­o­lis there are thou­sands of book fes­ti­vals around the world you can meet any writer, and it is not a big thing but in places like ours where there are no fes­ti­vals read­ers can’t en­gage with writ­ers and I think that is im­por­tant,” she said

Sad­ly, Sa­landy-Brown said not enough peo­ple are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­ni­ties at the fes­ti­val

“It (the fes­ti­val) is not about books be­cause peo­ple as­so­ciate books with school and licks, books are about ideas and we want peo­ple to come and en­gage in ideas,” Sa­landy-Brown said

“The gen­er­al read­ings are re­al­ly for peo­ple to un­der­stand the sto­ries that are in books,” she said

Sa­landy-Brown said it did not mat­ter in what for­mat a may book ap­peared what mat­ters is en­gag­ing in ideas

She said the fes­ti­val is meant to high­light the lit­er­ary gi­ants who went be­fore and those who are now tak­ing up the man­tle and stand­ing on their shoul­ders

The fea­tured writ­ers this year are Danez Smith Claire Adam and Nicole Sealey

This year’s the fes­ti­val will al­so cel­e­brate the 75th an­niver­sary of pub­li­ca­tion of Dr Er­ic Williams’ book Cap­i­tal­ism and Slav­ery