As the 2016 Miami International Book Fair took over downtown Miami in mid-November, the #ReadCaribbean took over the twittersphere, signalling the massive growth in the number of Caribbean authors at the 2016 edition of the festival.
Among the impressive line-up were debut novelists A-dZiko Simba Gegele (Jamaica) and Imam Baksh (Guyana), both of whom had won first prize in the coveted Burt Award for Caribbean Literature in consecutive years.
Simba Gegele’s hilarious coming of age novel All Over Again claimed the prize in its inaugural year, 2014. The novel then went on to be longlisted in the 2015 International Impac Dublin Award
Imam Baksh claimed first prize of the Burt Award in 2015 with his action adventure fantasy novel Children of the Spider, an electric re-imagining of the Anansi tale set among the gritty streets of Georgetown, Guyana.
“It feels like a real honour to participate in this massive event with such a diverse group of authors and such a diverse audience,” revealed Ms. Simba Gegele. “I have to admit it will be interesting to see how this very Caribbean book translates to this audience.”
Simba Gegele and Baksh were two of the three writers from the English-speaking Caribbean reading to young adult audiences at the fair. Imam was featured on the panel ‘Of Myths and Monsters’ along with George O’Connor, Adam Shaughnessy and Margaret Dilloway on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 2pm. Simba Gegele was featured on the ‘Growing Up is No Fun’ panel alongside Esta Spalding, Frank Viva and Cammi McGovern on Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 3:30pm.