The Blank Canvas: Dr. Craig Smith, Dr. Tiffany Austin and Alexia Tolas

On this week’s Blank Canvas, we welcome our stand-in host Dr. Craig Smith, Chair of School of English at the University of The Bahamas (UB), who is spearheading the first annual UB Spring Book Fair and Literary Festival set to take place over three days starting Thursday, March 30 through Saturday, April 1st.

Joining Craig in the studio this evening is Dr. Tiffany Austin,  professor of Creative Writing in the School of English Studies at UB and Alexia Tolas, a new and emerging writer.

The conversation focuses on the need for Bahamian writers to tell our stories – more diverse stories – to complicate narratives and stimulate new kinds of understandings of nationhood, development and self. They also highlight the growing need for critical engagement with Bahamian texts and the importance of placing intellectual material within a wider context.

Alexis Tolas reads her Sci-Fi story that was recently accepted featured in the journal #BlackGirlMagic.  Together they reiterate the importance of exploring other genres and diversifying the type of writing that we can engage with. All of these components reframing literature as a crucial part of cultural development and identity.

The first annual UB Spring Book Fair and Literary Festival events will include book readings and signings, poetry slams, panel discussions about literature, writing workshops and book sales. Participants include Dr. Gail Saunders, Helen Klonaris, Kareem Mortimer, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, Marie Sairsingh, Richard Coulson, Alicia Wallace, Alfred Sears, Nicolette Bethel among others.

The event promotes reading and the development of Bahamian writers. This year’s event will focus exclusively on Bahamian writers and Bahamian texts. Tune into the Blank Canvas on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on Guardian Talk Radio.