“NGC is thrilled to play an important role in an event that excites and inspires thousands of readers and writers alike. The rewards for the writers and artists are not just creative but financial, as the festival provides valuable business opportunities for members of the creative sector.”
These were the words of Maria Thorne, president (acting) of the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (NGC), as she gave remarks at the National Library at the media launch of the 2016 NGC Bocas Lit Fest on Wednesday.
For the past four years, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest has been one of NGC's flagship investments within its corporate social responsibility portfolio. Attendance at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest grew from its inaugural 2011 figure of just over 3,000 to 6,000 people in 2014.
The festival allows the country and the region to showcase its talent and creativity via literature, films, music and speech.
Authors, editors and publishers gather in Trinidad for this annual event, which is increasingly attracting people from Latin America, the Caribbean and its diaspora in North America and Europe.
NGC's support has grown from being that of a major sponsor in 2011 to title sponsor since 2012. World-renowned writers such as Earl Lovelace, Derek Walcott, Monique Roffey, Olive Senior and Irvine Welsh have all attended and participated in previous Bocas Lit Fests.
This year's event will feature internationally renowned writer and Booker Prize winner, Jamaican Marlon James, who will conduct workshops and host readings.
The 2016 NGC Bocas Lit Fest starts on April 23 featuring a full nine days of readings, performances, films, workshops, new writers' book launches and discussions.
Of immense importance to literary enthusiasts is that 2016 is the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and William Shakespeare, who died within 11 days of each other in 1616. Both men are regarded as the best examples of literary achievement in their respective languages – Spanish and English.
It is to be noted that, in keeping with the global trend to recognise both Cervantes and Shakespeare the NGC Bocas Lit Fest will also feature a Latin American, Caribbean, and Spanish Literary Film Festival: CineLit.