Montserrat’s Alliougagana Festival of the Word 2021 Was a Hybrid Hit

This year, festivities for the Alliouagana Festival of the Word were both online and offline. I definitely appreciated the opportunity to check out the sessions, and also participate as a reader for the Goodnight Montserrat story series.

From the opening session to the in-person Gala, everything was very well done and informative.

Ever since I participated in Montserrat in 2016, I have been a big fan of the AFW Litfest. Last year, when the Litfest was completely virtual, my daughter was a speaker. This year, the event was hybrid with several events happening in Montserrat, and others, like the Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell Memorial Lecture Series, were available to everyone on Facebook and YouTube.

About the AFW Litfest

Founded in 2009 by the University of the West Indies Open Campus with support from the Government of Montserrat and our community partners, the Alliouagana Festival of the Word is the premiere literary experience on Montserrat. Held each November, it is a celebration of the word in books, music, spoken word, film and the performing arts. 

This year, there were several short “Meet the Author” sessions. One of my favorites was from Jihan Williams who discussed how a pregnancy loss from uterine fibroids drove her to writing.

What I loved about this year’s sessions was that you not only met accomplished authors, you met new authors and got information on how to write and publish your own book from sessions like “Write a Book in 24 Hours” and “Book Aesthetics: The Look, The Tools and When to Ask for Help” with CaribbeanReads publisher and author Carol Mitchell.

Related: Caribbean Book Club: Discussion with Carol Mitchell and Daniel O’Brien

The AFW Litfest 2021

Monday, November 15th through Saturday, November 20th, there was a library exhibition called Write Montserrat: A Literary Retrospective of Our Island’s Authors at the Montserrat Public Library. Also starting Monday was the Goodnight Montserrat series. Last year, individuals in Montserrat read bedtime stories to children online. This year, readers were invited to read from all over the world. There were readers from the Montserrat and the Caribbean, the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.

On Thursday the 17th, the AFW Litfest officially opened . There was a book parade, and we met several authors during the “Meet the Authors” segments. Friday, we met more authors and there were two panels sessions for the Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell Memorial Lecture Series. The writing workshops and discussions took place on Saturday, and the festival ended with a gala celebrating the authors who were introduced Friday and Saturday.

Photo credit: Carandre Fernandez – VIP Media

This year’s event was sponsored by the Montserrat Arts Council, Digicel, Governor’s Office Montserrat, and Golden Media. The organizer of the event was Nerissa Golden who is an entrepreneur and the author of several books, the owner and editor of Discover Montserrat, and a 2020 SocaMom Summit Speaker (click here for her bio). She is also a brilliant person that I am happy to call a friend.

Here is my reading for Goodnight Montserrat.

Watch the full video of Saturday evening’s stories here.

To purchase Anancy’s Family Reunion and get your FREE copy of Winston Won’t Go, click here.

To watch all of the videos from the AFW Litfest 2021, click here.