Tuesday 7 April, 2020

Photos: Successful staging of Kingston Book Fair

American teen author  Marley Dias takes time to autograph a copy of her book. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

American teen author Marley Dias takes time to autograph a copy of her book. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

The biennial Kingston Book Festival culminated on Sunday with the Book Fair, a fun-filled day full of reading activities for children at Hope Gardens.

The event, staged by the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ), although targeting children, had something for everyone, with many booths having adult literature among the litany of children material.

The authors of the books on display were also at the Book Fair, including child author and advocate, Marley Dias. Characters from the children books also came to life in the form of mascots, that all frolicked with the youngsters,

Chairman of the BIAJ, Latoya West-Blackwood, believes that the Book Fair ties in with the success of the Kingston Book Festival this year.

She said, "this event today, is the really the first in a new era for us. Meaning, the Kingston Book Festival is now at its fifth staging and we have gone through a lot of growth in terms of learning lessons from the previous staging and basically see how we could make the festival successful.”

Kingston Book Fair 2018

See photo highlights in the gallery. 

She also noted that the fair can help aspiring authors build a network with their peers.

"If you are somebody who is aspiring to write going into a community of people that can make that happen by meeting fellow authors, the Kingston Book Festival is something that can make you achieve your goal.”

West-Blackwood also expressed hope that the festival and fair will help the society to develop a culture of reading, especially among children.

"So the book festival is about making reading fun, as we come from a culture where sometimes reading is put as a punishment where when a child does something wrong, they are told to go and take up a book to read. What kind of message is that sending?

"So we are basically reversing that destructive cycle and saying to our parents, our educators, our children and just about anybody in the society, that reading is very important. It is not just a bright people thing. It is not just for some people, who are of a particular class. Reading is something that can open windows of opportunity for all of us," West-Blackwood said.

Joshua Grey, who was among the many children won prizes throughout the day, said he enjoyed the day's activities. He said, "the day was great and I enjoyed myself very much. I took pictures with Marley Dias. It was great work from the organisers."

Jamiela Vanhorne agreed. She said, "the day has been good so far and I liked what Marley Dias said on the stage."

Jamiela's mother Kemmilyn James, who was also there with her toddler, Kemeila Vanhorne, said she believes the decision to take both to the Book Fair turned out to be great.

James said, "I never brought them to any book festival before, so I decided to take them to this one, the reason being because I think reading is very important and to let them look at the books and meet some of the authors like Marley Dias and it went well for them."

Publishers Carlong and the University of the West Indies along with the National Library, who all had books on display at their booths, also said the Book Fair was a good venture.

Nicklaus Bromfield, Carlong's marketing representative for western Jamaica, said, "it has been wonderful because we are having many visitors to our booths and we get a chance to promote some of our most recent titles.”

"We decided to be a part of this because we wanted to spread the message that Carlong is publishing local books and those that children can relate to. It is for the wider public to see who we are and what we offer," Bromfield said.

Marketing coordinator of the University of the West Indies, Kimone Meikle said, "it has been good for us, even though this festival is geared towards kids and we are university publisher, we have had some sale."

Monique Forgie-Scott, manager for the collections department at the National Library said "The National Library decided to be a part of this because we are actually a member of the BIAJ and it has been something that we supported when it was annually and we continue to do now that it is biennially. It was just natural," Forgie-Scott said.

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