Writer, Editor, Parent...

Enter the Bocas

Posted: March 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Column | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

(My apologies for the somewhat lame pun on the movie title Enter the Dragon, as the Bocas Lit Fest, which is the subject of this post, is named after the Dragon’s Mouth, a narrow channel through which ships pass to sail to Port-of-Spain.)

I rather like book fairs and literary festivals. The first one I ever went to was Calabash, the now-defunct Caribbean literary festival held in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. I went in 2006 and there talked my way into the good graces of my first publisher, Johnny Temple of Akashic Books. He was innocently walking the idyllic grounds of Jake’s, the hotel which hosted Calabash for its ten years of existence, when I pounced on him and thrust upon him copies of the manuscripts I was flogging at the time. He took it in stride but I never thought I’d hear from him again, as all my other interactions with publishers and agents had gone poorly before. To my complete surprise he actually read them and emailed me… we met up eventually and Trinidad Noir was born.

So you can see why I would have a soft spot for literary festivals. What about book fairs, though?

My first major book fair was the Miami Book Fair International, an annual emporium of literary delights sprawling across the campus of Miami Dade College in Florida. It’s staged annually by a board led by that Florida literary powerhouse Mitch Kaplan, who owns the delicious Books & Books chain of bookstores in Coral Gables and the Cayman Islands, among other locations. “Book fair” is a kind of misnomer because the eight-day event includes not just book sales in a street fair but workshops, seminars, readings and parties.

 

Trinidad Noir contributor Elizabeth Nunez reading her story at the Miami Book Fair International, 2009

 

 

 

Trinidad Noir was featured in one session in 2009 and, apart from getting to read at that event and sell and sign books, I went to a couple of great parties tagging on the coattails of Johnny and his co-publisher Johanna Ingalls. From what I remember of the parties, they were great. (Don’t tell my kids I said that.)

 

Lisa Allen-Agostini with Mitchell Kaplan at the Miami Book Fair International wrap party, South Beach, 2009

All of that was a very long aside to say that Trinidad and Tobago’s first literary festival had its press launch on Tuesday at the National Library. The Library will host most of the events in the festival, and I can’t wait to prowl through what I imagine will be stalls and stalls of tasty books with even tastier discounts, listen to readings and generally schmooze with authors and other bibliophiles. The schedule looks pretty great, so much so that it’s impossible for me to pick out what I’m most looking forward to. Is it the Lovelace reading? Or perhaps it’s the prose fiction session with Marlon James and Mark McWatt? Maybe it’s the poetry vibesing with Christian Campbell and Merle Collins? Or is it the children’s sessions scattered generously throughout the four days of the festival? So many yummy treats. One thing is sure: don’t call me between April 28-May 1… I’ll be very busy at Bocas.


Blast from the (video) past

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Column | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Was talking to a researcher today and recalled this video. Thought I’d post it again for those who missed it the first time. It’s a pretty wide-ranging interview–books, poetry, parenting and Facebook…

indigroove interview with Lisa Allen-Agostini


Trinidad Noir

Posted: May 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Named one of the Best Books of 2008 by the Caribbean Review of Books

Trinidad Noir
edited by Lisa Allen-Agostini & Jeanne Mason

Mystery/Fiction Anthology | A Trade Paperback Original
ISBN-13: 978-1-933354-55-2 l 300 pages | $15.95

Published by Akashic Books as part of their award-winning Akashic Noir series, Trinidad Noir brings together the best writers in Trinidad & Tobago and an exciting genre.

Trinidad Noir features new stories by: Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Lawrence Scott, Ramabai Espinet, Shani Mootoo, Kevin Baldeosingh, Vahni Capildeo, Willi Chen, Lisa Allen-Agostini, Rian Marie Extavour, Keith Jardim, Jaime Lee Loy, Darby Maloney, Reena Andrea Manickchand, Judith Theodore, Tiphanie Yanique, and others.

Akashic Noir was launched with the best-seller Brooklyn Noir. Each of the titles in the series features original noir stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

Trinidad Noir is the first book in the series to be set in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Trinidad Noir delivers all the crime a reader expects from Akashic’s Noir Series: murder, kidnapping, rape, drugs, prostitution, theft, extortion, and more. Yet in fictionalizing crime in the real crime setting of Trinidad, acclaimed authors Lawrence Scott, Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Ramabai Espinet, Keith Jardim, Tiphanie Yanique, Willi Chen, and others have created a decidedly literary noir collection,” says the Akashic Web site. “These authors’ quality characterizations, plots, and styles concurrently reveal the country’s darkness and its appeal with an unexpected and gratifying result: In their captivating and occasionally humorous stories, the Trinidad that emerges is as intriguing and contradictory as the island and its people. Trinidad Noir is as much a delightful crime romp as it is an expose of the seedy side of life.”

Co-editor Jeanne Mason is a freelance editor who also writes short stories and poetry. She has lived in Paris, France, where she edited medical articles for US and UK journals. She currently resides in Trinidad & Tobago.