Book Week ends at the Cayo Welcome Center Print E-mail
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Friday, 12 April 2019 00:00

Book lovers and students from the Saint Ignatius High School gathered at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio Town on Friday to celebrate the culmination of a successful Book Week. Being held under the theme, “Book It”, this is the eleventh book fair being brought forward by the Belize Book Industry Association (BBIA).

Past president of the BBIA, Montseratt Casademunt announced to those gathered that 2019 is going to bring in a new era of writing with an upcoming prize for the novella. It is still not clear whether the novella will be a biography or a novelette, but the length of this work has been expanded to 30,000 or 60,000 words, which will range from 90 to 150 pages. While the literary prize is an adult competition for Belizeans residing either at home or abroad, the same prize will also soon go towards a junior and youth competition to provide both national and international recognition for our authors.

At the event on Friday, we were able to meet some of Belize’s accomplished and aspiring wordsmiths, whose daily toil seek to transport their readership through the curvature of space and time. One of these accomplished authors is Dr. Henry W. Anderson from the cultural capital of Dangriga.

Based on information that we gathered from the Amazon website, three of Dr. Anderson’s works have been published in Belize. They are The Son of Kinich, a volume of poetry; The Eddy, a collection of short stories; Ode to the One-Eyed Lady, a novel about a hurricane approaching Belize. Recently published, both as printed and e-books, are Christ Son Of Man-The Voyage To Araboth II, and the first three books of the Sisimito Series: Sisimito I - Ox Witz Ha, Sisimito II - Xibalba, and Sisimito III - Topoxte.

Dr. Anderson, who himself began as a writer at the age of eight, urged our young people on Friday to start a career in writing. At that tender age, he began writing plays and inviting the neighborhood to come and see them at a cost of fifty cents each. For the member from Jabiru Books Belize, the writing landscape has changed tremendously and while urging that “…we cannot allow the electronic media to take over our lives” maintains a constant following on the internet. It is too expensive to print books, he told us. While a printed book will cost $70.00, the same version as an e-book will only cost $14.00

“It is important to do research properly, no matter what you have written, never throw it away at a future date you will be able to use it for something more important... We all aim so that the reader can enjoy, it is very important for us to have our work edited, have it properly reviewed,” Dr. Anderson advised the students from Saint Ignatius. “There are a lot of resources on the internet, but the local advice is more important, reading is very important, you will need to turn off your Wifi, but it is worthwhile.”

Another author we met was Edington Cayetano who also hails from Dangriga. After three years of persistence, Cayetano was able to get both financial and technical assistance from the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) for the first issue of his National Symbols of Belize. Cayetano now hopes to print a thousand copies of his book, which contains valuable information on our National Symbols, National Anthem, Prayer and Belize’s Coat of Arms.

The events of Book Week 2019 held in Belize last week were set in preparation for World Book and Copyright Day observed every year on April 23. The event also celebrates authors, illustrators, books and reading in over 100 countries all over the World and is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). At least locally, we would also like to thank NICH, the Belize National Library Service and Information System and some members from the private sector for making Book Week 2019 a marvelous success.