It was one of those special nights, a night so special not even the plentiful rain could wash away the good vibes. Musical Youth is out in the world now, to early positive reader response (one teen who participated in the writing workshop I ran on November 22nd and 23rd told me she stayed up until 3 a.m. reading just to finish it because she could not put it down… so, yay, Musical Youth!). The book was published in November 2014 as a result of placing second for the 2014 Burt Award (thanks to both CODE, funders of the Burt Award, and Caribbean Reads, the book’s publisher). The turn out and the positive energy surrounding the launch event and the book itself were pitch perfect; and I thank everyone for the support.
The top image (can you feel the joyfulness) is me with friend and professional associate, maven at NIA Comms, Marcella Andre. Here are some more images from the Musical Youth launch event:
This one is of Alexandra Spence reading her story, Why Did I Get Punished? – Honourable Mention for the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge (http://wadadlipen.wordpress.com), a writing programme I run here in Antigua and Barbuda to encourage and support emerging writers here at home. Involving some of the Wadadli Pen finalists in the launch of my book, itself the recipient of a prize in another competition, felt like the perfect coming together of my literary worlds.
And here is the winner of the Wadadli Pen Challenge, actually this year and last, Asha Graham, who shared her story from this year Lajabless. All Wadadli Pen participants received copies of my book, Musical Youth.
Wadadli Pen Teacher’s prize winner, Margaret Irish, reading from her story, The Skipping Rope, at the launch of my book, Musical Youth.
Here I am reading from Musical Youth.
Here I am signing copies of Musical Youth…and engaging with soon-to-be-readers.
One of those soon-to-be readers was Latisha, a young woman now, but once a young girl I met while a volunteer reader with the Cushion Club. She’s pictured here accepting a gift of the books on behalf of the Cushion Club but she gave me the greater gift that night in the form of a card in which she poured out appreciation for my role as a mentor in her life. I was surprised and overwhelmed with emotion, and I just want to encourage her to continue to strive.
It was a happy night…can you tell?
Give Thanks for the good turn out…even on such a wet Friday night.
And yay Musical Youth is out in the world…fingers crossed that it becomes a favourite among Caribbean teens.