Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Met Luke and Govinda in Chaguanas - Time Swimmer in Trinidad!

Last Friday, 26th, June 2009, I was invited to facilitate a career guidance workshop at a SERVOL LIfe Centre in Chaguanas in Trinidad. SERVOL provides alternative education for our teens, teaching them a trade (welding etc) and helping with finding on the job training, apprenticeships etc.

Island Fiction was a hit as before and Time Swimmer is so culturally relevant RIGHT NOW (see Ch. 1 Time Swimmer) since results for the new SEA exam (once the Common Entrance) were published on Thursday, the day before the workshop, and was/ still is on the tip of every tongue and in the media.

Two students in the audience of 45 teenagers (14 to 19) were named Luke and Govinda - just like in the book!
It was a stroke of serendipity that I wanted to share - as life, with such moments, authors our delight.

It is easy to think that reading aloud for 'children' old enough to grow beards and bear children themselves would be a waste of time - NOT SO! The students were awakened it seemed during the two hour presentation: Finding the Hero in Me: Faith & Fiction.

After an introduction to my own children's books ( we explored the issue of "Character" through the hero chracter in each of the Island Fiction novellas in order to discover that in Faith & Fiction we are all more alike than not. Through the surface Matter we easily found ourselves discussing that which is Essential - pointing us to the hero in ME.

After my power point presentation: Writing as a Career? You Must Be Mad! (with insights that apply to any creative/ self-employed endeavor) each of the young men and women received a copy of one of the Island Fiction novellas courtesy Venture Credit Union.

And the news gets better!!

Yesterday one of the Servol tutors, Mtima Solwazi,(also Editor-in-Chief of ROOTS - Reflections Of Our Oral Tradition S; called to say he has never seen young people so excited about books or reading: (Keep in mind these kids would be considered reluctant readers - )

"....some of them have already read the book they received and are swapping with others to read series - The green one for the purple or blue and so on - The place is buzzing still. I thought they would have forgotten all about it by now." (Three days later!?!)

I have asked for the kids to send feedback and this will be a helpful and necessary part of gathering reviews for the books as we meet and greet with Island Fiction fans - and I encourage each of the authors to do the same. The book trailers are also a great way to spark some adrenaline and I look forward to seeing what else the authors come up with as we go...

Based on the reception, response and wonderful serendipities along the way there is a feeling of flow with these Island Fiction books- that they are 'right on the money' in terms of relevance and appeal. They energize the kids about our Caribbean world and the worlds within our Caribbean imagination - and for all our Lukes, Govindas, Alejandros, Evans, Adas, Dominos, Marassas and Delroys that's gotta be a good thing!

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