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Cecil “Blazer” Williams honoured at UWI Literary Fair

Cecil “Blazer” Williams honoured at UWI Literary Fair


One of this country’s stalwarts in the field of drama and poetry was honoured with a lifetime achievement award in Literature and Performing Arts at the recently concluded UWI Open Campus Literary Fair.{{more}}

Attorney and playwright Cecil “Blazer” Williams, who has written five books and 16 plays, received his award at the launch of the Fair, which was held in conjuction with the Vincentian Association of Artists, Writers and Producers Inc (VAAWP), on October 17.

After accepting his award from René Baptiste, head of the VAAWP, Williams, in his brief acceptance speech, said he began writing songs as a child when his brother brought home magazines from the bookstore.

He said he began writing plays and short stories while a student at the St Vincent Grammar School, which led him to join the drama group there.

Williams said, with all his participation in the arts from the secondary to university level up to the point at which he returned home, he was involved in a lot of writing for his drama group, which he said travelled and performed all over St Vincent.

“We had to do a tremendous amount of work in this country creating theatre groups and teaching and drama,” he said.

Williams said there is a need to encourage the kind of literary activity that will ensure that we have a body of literature of which young people can be proud and build themselves into great writers and actors.

Sharing brief remarks at the Fair, head of the University of the West Indies Open Campus Deborah Dalrymple said the Fair was community-oriented, noting that the planning committee did not only include UWI and the VAAWP, but also representation from booksellers, publishers, and the Ministry of Culture.

Dalrymple added that the campus continues to fulfill its mandate of disseminating the arts and increasing its visibility in the community for cultural expression.

According to Dalrymple, this year’s theme reflects the committee’s committment to encourage an appreciation of the literary arts and to foster a love of reading.

“We hope that this year’s festival will help our people and our young students, in particular, to make that link between reading, critical thinking and intellectual growth,” she said.

Also sharing brief remarks, cultural officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports, Anthony Theobalds extended an invitation to all creatives to take advantage of the fair next year.

“Too many of our artists sit down and wait. I challenge them to be proactive. I challenge them to inquire here at the Open Campus about the opportunity to share their art in the next literary arts festival.”

Remarks also came from chief education officer Lou-Anne Gilchrist and Ronnie Daniel of the UWI Open Campus.

Cultural entertainment on the night was provided by Dexter Bacchus, Darron Andrews, Denny Robinson and the Diadem Dancers.

This year’s Fair was held under the theme: “Read! Think! Grow!” and ran from October 17 to 20.(KW)