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CaribLit Launches Book Club with Ezekel Alan

CaribLit the Caribbean Literary Action Group

Caribbean publishing industry organization, The Caribbean Literary Action Group (Cariblit) is getting into the reading game. This week the  organization launched a virtual book club to encourage and promote the reading of Caribbean authors.

The book club will comprise a feature on a selected author each month, opening with an interview posted on the website and closing with a live chat also via CaribLit.org.

CaribLit coordinator, Kellie Magnus, explained that the presence of the virtual book club does not indicate a shift of focus from writing and publishing to reading by the organization. She explains instead that reading is a critical part of the writing process, and that one of the challenges in the regional landscape is that aspiring Caribbean writers do not currently read enough Caribbean writing.

“We wanted to create a forum where the best Caribbean writing could be shared,” Magnus said, noting that through the book club emerging writers can glean a greater understanding from the experiences of published writers, as well as learn more about contemporary Caribbean writing.

The book club launched this week with Commonwealth Writing Prize winning author Ezekel Alan. The Jamaican author copped the 2013 regional prize with his self-published novel Disposable People. According to Magnus, this achievement was one of the key reasons that CaribLit selected the work as their first spotlighted book.

“It’s particularly striking that as a self-published writer he was able to win a prestigious prize,” Magnus said. She noted that the Commonwealth Book Prize, which no longer exists, was one of the world’s most celebrated prizes. Of course the Commonwealth Book Prize was also one of the few international prizes that books published by Caribbean publishing houses were eligible to enter.

“We think Disposable People is a good model to show the potential of self-publishing if you pay attention to the quality of the publication,” Magnus said.

CaribLit is a relatively new organization, which officially launched in 2013 April after its convening meeting of 2012 April, both of which took place at the Bocas Literary Festival in Trinidad and Tobago.