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Press Conference to announce the official launch of the SeaWords Bahamas Literary Festival. Doongalik Studios, June 6, 2018. (Left to right) Paul McWeeney, President, Sunshine Insurance (Arawak Homes—Diamond Sponsor); Neko Meicholas, Communications, Creative Nassau; Pamela Burnside, President, Creative Nassau; Patrica Glinton-Meicholas, VP, Creative Nassau; Gravette Brown, Chief Aliv Commercial Officer (Aliv, Title Sponsor); Rosemary Hanna, Member, Creative Nassau and Richard Coulson, Member, Organizing Committee, SeaWords Bahamas.

Press Conference to Announce the Launch of SeaWords Bahamas

June 6, 2018 | Doongalik Studios | Village Rd | Nassau, The Bahamas

Wednesday, June 6 was a banner day for the creative arts. The non-profit organization Creative Nassau (CN) announced its newest project, which highlights one of CN’S strategies to drive the creative industries in The Bahamas. SeaWords Bahamas ALIV (SeaWords) will hold its inaugural three-day event 9 to 11 November, 2018 at the Convention Centre, Atlantis, Paradise Island. The literary festival will welcome Bahamians and international participants to technique-building workshops, and feature performances by a superbly talented group of Bahamian writers and none other than Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, Carol Ann Duffy, who is a world-renowned poet and author. 

A festival website, www.seawordsbahamas.com, will provide links for registering for Festival packages and booking special accommodation packages at Atlantis, which will go active July 1. Also available will be information about purchasing tickets for the performance events that are open to the general public.

Present at the launch event were the five members of the festival organizing committee, including Pam Burnside, president, Creative Nassau & proprietor, Doongalik Studios and art gallery; Neko Meicholas, artist & publisher, Guanima Press Ltd; Richard Coulson, author, retired lawyer & financier; Rosemary Hanna, author, photographer & retired banker and Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, vice president, Creative Nassau and SeaWords chair, who is herself an author, poet & culture critic. Also participating were representatives of two of the major sponsors: Gravette Brown, ALIV Chief Commercial Officer and Paul McWeeney, President, Sunshine Insurance Agents & Brokers.

Glinton-Meicholas revealed the festival’s novel mission, noting, “With the support of generous companies such as title sponsor ALIV, Atlantis and Sunshine Holdings Ltd, we are launching a festival dedicated to promoting and celebrating writing as an art form and profession and equally as a multi-billion-dollar creative industry with the power to bring valuable diversification to the Bahamian economy.”

Burnside voiced her confidence in the success of Creative Nassau’s newest venture. “So far, Creative Nassau has attracted some quality sponsors, and we have put together a dynamic organizing committee. All the members are recognized creatives, who are willing to go full tilt in making SeaWords Bahamas ALIV an entertaining and rewarding experience for all who participate and our country as a whole,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of title sponsor ALIV, Brown noted: “We believe the festival is an innovative and progressive move in the direction of educating, nurturing and bringing awareness to all aspects of the literary world right here in The Bahamas. At Aliv we believe there is a natural interplay between technology and arts.  We have a long history of successful collaboration with other artistic communities and now we are happy to move into this partnership with the literary arts.”

“Sunshine Holdings support of SeaWords is in keeping with elements of its core values, which include to have a “sense of community” and to “make varied and meaningful contributions to the common good of all Bahamians. Sir Franklyn (Wilson) remains a strong advocate of initiatives geared towards promoting higher learning opportunities for all Bahamians.  Therefore, his eagerness to support SeaWords was matched with the Diamond sponsorship from the Sunshine Holdings Group, which includes Arawak Homes, Sunshine Finance and Sunshine Insurance,” McWeeney said.

“Highlighting the scheduled performances of literary works will be Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s Poet Laureate since 2009 and the first woman to be so named in the four centuries since the title was created. Recipient of many distinguished awards, Ms Duffy’s work has been extensively published, including her poetry collections and books for children. The opening reception of the Festival will feature readings by a bevy of recognized and emerging Bahamian poets and authors. Confirmed are Marion Bethel, Helen Klonaris, Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming, Eric Rose, Zemi Stewart, University of The Bahamas student Ide Thompson and myself. These events are included as a benefit to those registering for the full Festival package. The general public may purchase tickets locally,” Glinton-Meicholas said.

As she announced, the SeaWords core agenda will comprise workshops on writing poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Also highlighted will be writing for the media, poetry and playwriting, film script development, the book’s journey from concept to publication and intellectual property law, which is essential to creative processes such as writing.

Workshop facilitators are seasoned, recognized, professionals. SeaWords has already secured the participation of such as Diane Gedymin and Dr Adair White Johnson, both veterans of the publishing industry, who have written and published best sellers; Michelle Malcolm, veteran broadcaster and general manager of the new ILTV; Suzette Parker, writer and producer of the live morning TV show Bahamas@Sunrise and the Financial Voice; award-winning filmmaker Kareem Mortimer, University of The Bahamas professors Christopher Curry, Ph.D. and Nicolette Bethel, Ph.D., and attorney Erica Pople-Ferreira, Managing Partner, Ferreira & Co.

‘We are pleased and deeply grateful to have attracted the sponsorship of ALIV as title sponsor, Atlantis our Platinum sponsor and the Sunshine Group of Companies as a Diamond sponsor. We are grateful also for the support of the Jackson Burnside Library Fund, Guanima Press Ltd and Doongalik Studios Ltd. Creative Nassau has set some ambitious and very necessary goals for our SeaWords Bahamas Literary Festival; it would be difficult to achieve them without serious sponsorship. We still have quite a way to go in our fundraising and hope that other community supporters will be as responsive,” Glinton-Meicholas said.

About Creative Nassau

Creative Nassau (CN) is the organization which secured and maintains Nassau’s membership, as a Creative City of Craft & Folk Art, in the global UNESCO Creative Cities Network. CN is dedicated to promoting the ‘Orange Economy’, which refers to the cultural and creative industries that combine the creation, production and commercialization of creative contents.

In 2014 Creative Nassau applied on behalf of our capital city for and secured membership in the global UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The submission showcased the country’s traditional Bahamian straw craft industry, which is presently undergoing revitalization to protect and secure the tradition, upgrade related facilities, and strengthen the brand, both economically, socially and internationally.

In 2017 Creative Nassau signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Forestry Unit of the Ministry of the Environment & Housing towards protecting the palms so vital to the production of Bahamian straw work. Supported by the Forestry Unit, CN has applied to UNESCO, under the Convention for Intangible Cultural Heritage, for the protection and preservation of Bahamian straw palms.

A Creative Collective has been formed, consisting of fine artists, graphic designers, writers, crafts artisans and University of The Bahamas art students, in conjunction with public and private entities. The object is to achieve Creative Nassau’s goals for local, regional and international impact. It is envisioned that this process will be implemented in stages over the next year.

Creative Nassau runs a weekly market in Pompey Square, Downtown Nassau, which offers authentic Bahamian art and craft. The organization also maintains a radio programme on Island Radio 102.9FM, hosted by Pam Burnside and Patricia Glinton-Meicholas. The show, featuring talk on Bahamian art, history and culture, airs twice per week on Tuesdays, 7:00-7:30pm and Sundays, 5:00-5:30pm.


SeaWords Bahamas...

is a literary festival, poised to take its inaugural flight into the exhilarating world of words crafted by those who know their power and ability to enliven intellect and spirit, releasing readers to mind-fly to realms locked to us in the physical frame. The festival is so named to link writing to the beauties of the marine environment that makes our Atlantic archipelago unique.

SeaWords is organized by a group of creative Bahamians whose mission is to celebrate writing in all its many and growing genres, to put a spotlight on the works of the still small but dynamic cadre of local writers, and to build bridges to connect with writers across the globe for mutually beneficial exchanges. Lastly, we aim to give our compatriots greater exposure to authors from home and abroad.