Monday, 27 February 2012

TALKING TREES 2012: Highlights from Treasure Beach

“Most of what I write comes out of my experiences or what I hear, or what I see,” said writer-playwright-Anglican priest Easton Lee (above), before launching into a hilarious tale of growing up with his folks in St. Bess, where his father ran a private bar in Siloah. On a day that featured a host of strong presentations, Lee was a bonafide highlight at last Saturday’s Talking Trees Literary Fiesta in Treasure Beach. Reflecting on his mother, Lee recalled her as “a gentle soul with a sweet voice”, while noting that there was “no ailment or fever her touch couldn’t heal.” Lee’s early morning segment also featured Monique Morrison and Melanie Schwapp.

A panel discussion on writing for children proved insightful, as the participants (Diane Brown, Jean Forbes, Sharon Martini, Kellie Magnus and moderator Suzanne Francis-Brown), discussed their approach to penning edu-tational tales for youngsters and the urgent need for more indigenous kiddie-friendly reading material. “Kids today are more sophisticated than some parents realize,” observed Brown. “There is very little that reflects the lives that kids are living today. We need more books that are both captivating and commercially viable.”

Readings and reflections also came from the Mark Thomas (stentorian), Roland Watson-Grant (clever and witty) and Kalilah Enriquez, whose saccharine voice imbued her poems and short story with compelling beauty. The Best of St. Bess featured acclaimed poet Christine Craig (above), the Shane Drummers and Fern Luecke. Nigerian Igoni Barrett gave a surprisingly succinct presentation marked by short-story excerpts and reflections on his journey as a man with Afro-Caribbean lineage and a broad worldview.

While Fabian Thomas brought fierce lyricism to his spoken word stint, the increasingly popular Dr. Michael Abrahams (above) offered a typically hilarious performance (riffing on everything from politics to sexuality to the church), which proved a difficult act for Malachi Smith to follow. But follow he did, and quite admirably too. His race-horsing take on the impending US Presidential Elections was a runaway hit.

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