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Arts pledge

Robert Sandiford interacts with the audience.

Robert Sandiford interacts with the audience.

The National Cultural Foundation is “reaffirming” its commitment to the literary arts.

It is also calling for wider support of Barbadian authors, through its Chief Executive Officer Cranston Browne, who made the call on Sunday night, at the start of the Crop-Over READ-IN! and Book Fair.

“We have such talented writers in Barbados and yet if I did a poll what would be the percentage of local readership? Programmes like Read-In! offer us an opportunity to grow the numbers of known Barbadian literary artists, following in the footsteps of many of the illustrious writers before them,” he said.

Browne told the audience that the event was an avenue to “continue the rich tradition of the fine art of storytelling one of the most ancient and powerful ways of communicating and a galvanising force for many social events in days gone by”.

He added: “In fact, way back in history, those gifted with this mastery were revered and sought after for many an important decision because they were thought to be vessels full of knowledge – they were seen as the wise ones. Others simply told for the sole purpose of entertaining and mesmerizing the masses in the days when this was a favourite pastime.

“Whatever the reason, it is through this fine art of storytelling that we will be able to continue to pass on cultural and religious values down through generations that will help us to remain grounded as a people, confident in the knowledge of we are.

“Using this platform of the Crop-Over season we have established another avenue to expand the market and to safeguard our literary heritage by creating a thirst for the short stories, poetry and novels from our own pool of talented local authors,” he said.

In the programme for the event, the CEO noted it was “evident from the growing interest in the heritage events” on the Crop-Over calender, that as a society “we understand the importance of preserving who we are so that we can continue to engage multiple generations of ordinary Barbadians, including literary and performing artists with tales of yore.

“Preservations of our literary heritage also means providing a national stage for the published works of our authors to be showcased in performances and creating opportunities to market their literary arts products through a book fair,” Browne said. (DS)

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