Interviews

A Conversation with Kellie Magnus, Co-organizer, Anancy Festival 2012 in Kingston, Jamaica

Written by Denise Lee

This week we have a conversation with Kellie Magnus Co-organizer Anancy Festival 2012 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Anancy festival is June 9th, 2012 in Kingston, Jamaica. Here is our conversation with Kellie.

What Caribbean Country are you from?
Jamaica

Tell us about Anancy Fest 2012 Orlando Florida? How did it get started? How did you get involve?
Last year, the organizers of the Anancy Festival in Florida contacted me about reading there. I couldn’t go, but we decided to try to stage something in Jamaica at the same time. The Book Industry Association of Jamaica partnered with the Jamaica Library service to host an event at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library. It was a big hit. We streamed both events online and the feedback was fantastic.

What is the main goal of the festival?
Storytelling is a huge part of Jamaican culture and Anancy stories hold a special place in people’s hearts. We see the Festival as a way to preserve and celebrate an important part of our heritage. It’s also a chance for our publishers and booksellers to showcase the wide range of books about Anancy.

What can we expect this year?
This year in the Jamaica festival we have traditional storytellers, dramatic readings from Anancy books, animated shorts, and an excerpt from a theatre production. We’ll also watch pieces from the festivals in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Washington DC.

Do you think there is enough being done to pass in Caribbean and African history to the next generation?
In Jamaica, we have storytellers like Amina Blackwood Meeks, Joan Andrea Hutchinson and Adziko Simba who work really hard to promote our oral culture. Our writers and publishers also do their part — there’s a wide and growing range of books on Caribbean history and culture and the kids’ book sector is growing too. Events like these really help to promote the work that’s already being done and to encourage writers and other artists to do more.

What other projects and events are you working on?
I’m working on some new children’s books that I’m really excited about. We’ve also just started planning the 2013 Kingston Book Festival for next March. Next year the Festival will coincide with the BIAJ Book Awards (which take place every other year).

When you are not busy with work and projects what do you do to relax?
When I get to sit down for a second — I grab a book. Guess that’s like a busman’s holiday, but it’s true. I love to run, but I’ve wrecked my left foot so I’ve been off for a while. Hoping to get back into it soon.

My favorite Caribbean author is —-
That’s like asking a mother to name her favourite child! Too many to pick just one. I love Winkler and Naipaul — I’m partial to funny, irreverent, singular voices. I’m impatiently waiting for Roland Watson Grant’s first book to come out.

My comfort food is—-
Chippies Banana Chips and an ice cold Ting. Same snack since I was five.

If I wanted to impress someone visiting my city I would take them to—
The National Gallery. The collection is outstanding and the history behind some of the pieces is really fascinating.

Thanks for the time. Where can we learn more about the Anancy festival Jamaica?
Visit anancyfestival.com or facebook.com/anancyfestival .  Details on the Jamaica leg will also be online at bookindustryja.com

About the author

Denise Lee