The inaugural Bim Literary Festival and Book Fair took place in May 2012. Its theme was “Words Need Love Too,” a sentiment borrowed from a poem by Barbados’ best-known poet, Kamau Brathwaite.
Organized by Writers Ink, a collective of Barbados’ leading novelists and poets, that first festival featured literary giants: Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Alba Prize winner George Lamming and Giller Award winners Austin “Tom” Clarke and Lorna Goodison. Among the renowned local writers who participated were Linda M. Deane, Margaret Gill, Anthony Kellman, Karen Lord, Philip Nanton, Esther Phillips, and Robert Edison Sandiford.
The aim of any literary festival is to engage people with reading, writing and literature. The Bim Lit Fest, as it’s already affectionately known, gives writers and readers, editors and agents, that all too rare opportunity to get together, lime, and interact one-on-one. It’s an opportunity for them and the public to talk about books, why they matter and why they love them. That this can happen in a place like Barbados, long a stimulating destination for the intellectually passionate and creatively curious, is merely as it should be.
Once again falling under the patronage of the Prime Minister’s Office, the 2014 Bim Lit Fest is already recognized as an event—an occasion—of national significance. This year’s festival will be staged from 15-17 May in historic Bridgetown, whose surroundings are part of our World Heritage Site. The theme is “Crossings: Breaking Borders.”
In order to flesh out our theme, we’re planning stimulating panel discussions that explore the migration to Panama and its impact; the question of identities and ethnicities; the ‘crossing’ of sexualities and the fragile line between sanity and insanity.
In addition, some of our most renowned Caribbean authors will be reading their work from a boat berthed in the Careenage, while the Saturday Children’s Festival in the Square is expected to be a huge attraction.
While this bi-annual festival also provides an avenue for writers and publishers to market their work, it attracts visitors to the island who want a true cultural experience. Wherever you come from, whether reader or writer, we look forward to seeing you in Independence Square by the Careenage 15-17 May.
Download the Festival Programme.