Alliouagana Festival of the Word


Through the centuries and across cultures storytelling has held its place as a tool that teaches lessons, provides inspiration and motivation to act, as a means of cultural transmission and for its pure entertainment. The theme for the 2017 Alliouagana Festival of the Word – Telling Our Stories – acknowledges the wide and deep reach of storytelling, especially in its African and Caribbean manifestations. Our authors and presenters will encourage you to take a close look at the power of stories and the skill of the tellers.

We will be bidding farewell to Her Excellency Elizabeth Carriere, the Governor, and take this opportunity to thank her for graciously hosting the receptions for visiting authors over the years, events that attendees called memorable. Sincere thanks also to the Office of the Premier, the Montserrat Arts Council, the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Housing, Lands and the Environment, the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports, the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Montserrat Foundation for partnering and committing funds.

The Souvenir Booklet continues to document the many businesses and individual well-wishers who support the Festival. A hardcopy covering the years 2016 to 2018 will be published next year but will begin its life electronically on this website as we solicit further advertisements and in this way continue to raise funds for the Festival. We have already received some fascinating stories and look forward to getting even more!

In keeping with our theme, we have invited a stellar line-up of storytellers coming from overseas that includes Atinuke Akinyemi – Nigerian- born storyteller and award-winning author, Amina Blackwood-Meeks, Jamaican academic, writer and custodian of the oral tradition, Paul Keens- Douglas, Trinidadian performer extraordinaire, humourist, storyteller, author, A-dZiko Simba Gegele, Jamaican/British actress, writer, teacher, storyteller back in Montserrat by popular demand, and Barbara Arrindell, educator, writer, playwright and manager / co-owner of Best of Books Bookstore in Antigua. We are pleased to have Claytine Nisbett, and Sarah Dickinson, launching their publications at this year’s festival.

Another first for the Festival is the scheduling of the event to coincide with the Ministry of Education’s Reading Week – an annual celebration of the importance of literacy to children’s academic success. A pre-Festival activity takes place on the morning of Wednesday, November 15 that will see several AFW presenters accompany Community Leaders on a Reading Across Montserrat Bus Tour to schools.

On Thursday, November 16, there will be a Ministry of Education organized Book Parade for the younger students from Carr’s Bay to Little Bay. That afternoon, the Festival begins with the 4th Symposium in the Alphonso ‘Arrow’ Cassell Memorial Lecture Series. The theme for the afternoon of presentations is Storytelling: A Powerful Tool for National Development with the keynote address being given by Dr Amina Blackwood-Meeks.

On Friday, November 17, again in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, school children will participate in storytelling sessions. The Festival will be declared open by this year’s Patron, the Honourable Delmaude Ryan, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Youth Affairs and Sports. This will be followed by storytelling teasers and the launch of two books.

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 will see multiple presentations and performances by invited authors, culminating on Sunday evening in a gala performance by Paul Keens- Douglas with proceeds going towards Disaster Relief. You will not want to miss this rare opportunity.

A number of events that are now staples of the Festival will be returning:

  • MVO Creative Writing Competition prize-giving
  • Word Up – A Spoken Word and Storytelling Slam organized by staff and students at the Montserrat Secondary School and the Montserrat Community College on the Saturday evening
  • Book lovers’ parade with a new twist.

New this year will be a HarperCollins sponsored Spelling Bee and Reading Competition and a musical performance by Brandelle Knight and Company entitled Woman, Leave a Message!

Full details of titles, presenters, times and venues can be found on the programme on this website. This promises to be an outstanding Alliouagana Festival of the Word, so do plan on attending to hear some great stories and who knows, be inspired to tell your own.

 If you would like to donate to the Alliouagana  Festival of the Word, please click the “Donate Now” button below.