The National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) celebrated 55 Trinidad and Tobago authors who published for the first time in 2022 at its Fourteenth First Time Authors’ (FTA) Appreciation Programme. The 2023 FTA event was held on May 09 at The Auditorium, Government Campus, Richmond Street, Port of Spain.
By this programme, NALIS encourages new writers to enter the publishing arena; promotes the works of local authors, and promotes the reading habit. This year’s honourees published their works during the period January to December 2022.
Kenneth Ramchand, Professor Emeritus of English, delivered the feature address at the event. He recognised that NALIS had celebrated over 500 authors since the establishment of its FTA in 2010. He said that it would be interesting to know if these authors continued to write, which have become well-known or even famous writers. Professor Ramchand said that writing helps authors steady their own personal world, find themselves, explore the meaning of life and allows them to make and remake their lives.
In delivering remarks at the gala event, Paula Greene, NALIS’ Executive Director told the honourees, “Your books are now added to Trinidad and Tobago’s literary landscape and will be made available to library users.” She added, “There is this notion that books are no longer fashionable. Almost 600 books later; this programme affords us the opportunity to witness first-hand that that notion is without foundation. What is true is that persons have varying reading interests and that they are reading in a variety of formats. It is therefore incumbent on our authors to understand audience diversity and to embrace the various publication formats, which include audio books, Braille books and eBooks. As the Authorised Entity under the Marrakesh Treaty, of particular interest to us is that books are made available in accessible formats for persons who are visually impaired, blind and print disabled.”
Among the 55 persons celebrated, 22 were male and 33 female. Their ages range from seven to 84. The genres covered are fiction and non-fiction, and consist of poetry, novels, autobiographies and handbooks; including a number of children’s titles. Popular topics written about were relationships and culture in Trinidad and Tobago; health and wellness, disability; prominent persons and religion.
Among the books were a number one hit release on Amazon titled, "Lilac Honey: A collection of Poems” by AM Ali; Rosetta Ransome's poems, "My Way of Life” which she started writing 30 years ago; Reneé Joseph’s stories which were first written for an imaginative/creative writing project for her English class in 2000; Alake Pilgrim’s "Zo and the Forest of Secrets" (Knights Of, 2022), a fantasy adventure set in nature on the island of Trinidad, which was shortlisted for the Bocas Lit Fest Children's Book Prize.
An exhibition displaying the bios, photos and books of the 55 First Time Authors is on at the News Media Room, National Library.
Front Row, Fourth from Left: Professor Kenneth Ramchand, flanked at the left by Jasmin Simmons, Director Heritage Library Division and on his right by Paula Greene, Executive Director, NALIS and Beverly Williams, Deputy Executive Director, NALIS.
First Time Author, Isaac Price with Beverly Williams, Deputy Executive Director, NALIS during the NALIS First Time Authors’ Appreciation Ceremony on May 9.
The author was only five years old when he completed his book, “My Fun Pet, Hamlet the Hamster,” he published at the age of seven.