Last evening the owners of the magnificent Ultimacy Villa Retreat on Anguilla’s north shore hosted a reception for the organizing committee, speakers and guests at Anguilla’s First Lit Fest, which officially starts today.
I sat at a table with Allison Samuels, award-winning Newsweek writer and author of What Would Michelle Do, and actress, singer, activist and author Sheryl Lee Ralph, along with several other interesting Anguillians and visitors. I listened with great interest to a passionate conversation about television portrayal of black women in America and black female role models in general, and learned a lot, but then I was able to throw in a thought or two of my own when the exchange expanded to include movies and television in general and gradually dissolved into efforts to remember the titles of various ancient and recent shows and films and actors who’d been in them — such as the name of the woman who played the daughter of Bea Arthur on Maude (Adrienne Barbeau) and who starred with Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love (Steve Carell).
I also had the privilege to talk to Marva Allen of the famous Hue-Man Bookstore in NYC, and btw, she highly recommends the new book by past US poet laureate Rita Dove.
The live music was fantastic. The band is Anguillian but I’m sure they will be heard far beyond these shores before long. They are called British Dependency. Here’s a sample:
Everyone here is warm, welcoming and friendly, and all of us are excited about this fantastic event that they have put on for the next three days.
This afternoon we’re off to talk to students from Anguilla schools about writing as part of the Champion Literacy initiative.