10th annual St. Martin Book Fair opens May 31 with leading economist Dr. Norman Girvan

The 10th annual St. Martin Book Fair, will take place on May 31 – June 2, 2012, said book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph.

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Some 14 guest authors and artists, from Asia to the Americas, will be on hand to celebrate the opening of the book fair’s 10th anniversary edition at the Belair Community Center on Thursday, May 31, at 8 pm, said Reiph.

Dr. Girvan, leading economist, author, and professor emeritus at UWI-Trinidad, will deliver the keynote address, "The Cost of Moving Forward with Caribbean Unity," at the opening ceremony of the literary festival, said Reiph.

Dr. Girvan is an essential ‘go to man’ for presidents and prime ministers and was only recently the United Nations Secretary General’s Personal Representative on the Guyana-Venezuela Border Controversy (2010), said Reiph.

Books by Dr. Girvan and all of the visiting authors, and titles by the growing number of St. Martin writers, will be available at the book fair.

There are over 20 book fair and pre-book fair activities planned for the festival by the Book Fair Committee (BFC), said Reiph. All book fair activities are free and "the general public is invited to this ‘book fair for the entire family,’" said Reiph.

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau returns in 2012 as the main sponsor of the St. Martin Book Fair. "The Tourist Bureau as the main committed sponsor and the University of St. Martin as the home sponsor of the main book fair day, have been collaborating with the St. Martin Book Fair from the very beginning," said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), one of the book fair organizers.

"The Ministry of Education and Culture, headed by the outgoing minister Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, made a contribution this year to the St. Martin Book Fair’s 10th anniversary," said Reiph, who is also president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF).

CLF and HNP have been organizing the St. Martin Book Fair since 2003, in collaboration with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the University of St. Martin.

The opening ceremony of the festival is alternated each year between both parts of the island. Various activities, the main book launch, and the school visits by international and St. Martin writers are conducted island-wide "in keeping with the island’s traditional unity," said Reiph.