Friday, April 1, 2011

An artist and writers, together in spirit

Last Saturday, as part of the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) celebrations, we writers met an overseas artist, and writers read from their works. This young American artist Aaron Boyd, was located by Scholastic and brought to Jamaica courtesy of Book Merchant, one of our leading book distributors. He came to run a hands-on workshop with local artists . We writers enjoyed meeting him and sharing his delightful work, from the whimsical to the charming to the realistic. I was particularly fascinated by the fact that he, from time to time, inserts into his illustrations, objects that have meaning for him, like the number of a street address. This happens in my writing (and clearly all creative writing has symbolism, overt or not so overt). But I liked the concept of having something of your own in the work, besides the art itself. So for me this was one of those meetings where there is an insight into another person's way of thinking or working. These insights are always precious. (Illustration by Aaron Boyd is from The Low-Down, Bad-Day Blues, by Derrick D. Barnes, Scholastic) Here are the Readers: These books, all very different, share the spirit of overcoming. And isn't that part of the grand design - overcoming so that others can know it can be done? Besides a good story, isn't that one of the things we bring to books? Hazel Campbell reading from Bernie and The Captains’ Ghost. Children have a holiday and solve a mystery in spite of being physically challenged. Kellie Magnus reading from Little Lion Goes for Gold. Little Lion overcomes yet again and shows us that we can succeed if we try hard enough. Colleen Smith-Dennis reading from Inner City Girl . Our heroine, in spite of an unbelievably challenging life (not uncommon to children in our inner city), succeeds, because that's what she sets out to do. Jana Bent:Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band. A multi-media production about saving the environment. It was a delightfully interactive presentation which had the children singing and drumming and dancing in their seats. Yes, I was there. Here I am outside talking to George Davis of Book Merchant, a friend in the book industry. We have quite a wonderful ‘family’ in the local book industry. You'll probably see pictures of Sharon Neita, the other partner from Book Merchant on Facebook (BIAJ) and the BIAJ website.

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