“Guyana – land of many writers”
World Book and Copyright Day 2007
Preserving our literary heritage
by Petamber Persaud
April 22, 2007
IT would appear that Georgetown can stake a claim as World Book Capital City.
Already a number of Guyanese books were launched in Georgetown and a greater number of titles published, howbeit, outside of the capital city.
Books already launched for 2007 were “The Guyana Annual” edited by Petamber Persaud, “Cricket at Bourda - Sportsmen and Sportsmanship - a compilation of articles by the late Pryor Jonas, edited by Joyce Jonas. All of these titles were printed and published locally.
Other titles already published for the year 2007 include “The Undiminished Link” by Victor Waldron, “A Dream Deferred” by Stephen Spenser, “The People’s Progressive Party of Guyana 1950-1992: An Oral History” compiled and edited by Frank Birbalsingh – all three published by Hansib, UK, a second edition of “Bibliography of Guyana and Guyanese Writers” compiled and edited by Lal Balkaran, and “An Anthology of Short Stories from Guyana” edited by Petamber Persaud, published by Dido Press, UK.
Apart from the above mentioned book related deeds, there were other such activities that were given little or no attention by the media (I make no apology if it appears self-serving when publicising literary projects; in fact, I feel blessed to have the means and to make optimum use of them for the purpose of promoting literacy and enhancing our literature).
Two cases instantly come to mind were the sixth Annual Book Fair staged by the Guyana Book Foundation and Partners and “The Journey”, an evening of literature, part VIII.
The first activity was held on March 14 & 15, 2007 in Georgetown and the other was staged at the National Art Gallery, Castellani House, on April 4 2007.
The World Book Capital City for the year 2007 is Bogota, a South American neighbouring city. Bogota is the capital of Columbia; Nobel Laureate, Gabriel Garcia Marques, was born in Columbia. South America can boast of a number of winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature including Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda.
World Book Capital City was instituted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2001 as another innovation to its excellent project World Book and Copyright Day which was established in 1996.
World Book Capital City was established to support programmes for the publishing industry. This new dimension in publishing further enhances the role of books in society as an instrument of expression, debate, education, research, and communication.
In 1995, World Book and Copyright Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). This move resulted from the deliberation of its General Conference, a move that would serve as a worldwide celebration of books, to promote reading, to encourage publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.
The General Conference in a proclamation then, stated, “that historically books have been the most powerful factor in the dissemination of knowledge and the most accurate means of preserving it…and that all moves to promote their dissemination will serve not only greatly to enlighten all those who have access to them, but also to develop fuller collective awareness of cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire behaviour based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue”.
The idea for World Book and Copyright Day has its origin in an interesting affair practiced in Spain. Some eight decades ago in Catalonia, a tradition started where on St. George’s Day, April 23, a rose is given as a gift for each book sold.
April 23 was adopted according to UNESCO because it was on that date in 1616 that Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died.
April 23 is also associated with the birth or death of other well-known writers like Vladimir Nabokov, K. Laxness, Josep Pla, Murice Druon, and Manuel Mejia Vallejo.
In 2006, the Director-General of UNESCO in his message to mark the occasion, cautioned us not to loose sight of “the key role played by translators, without whom intercultural dialogue through books would not be possible”.
That is another example of how congenial is this project, shifting its parameter to accommodate all stakeholders in the book industry.
This year, 2007, in his message to mark the occasion, the Director-General, Koichiro Matsuura, declared that “The twelfth World Book and Copyright Day, on 23 April 2007, provides a further opportunity for political decision-makers, economic operators and civil society stakeholders to pay tribute to that unique tool for expression, education and communication: the book”.
This year, we in Guyana will again contribute to World Book and Copyright Day with an exhibition of Guyanese books and a photographic display of Guyanese writers. The theme of this event is “Guyana – the land of many writers”.
This event will be staged in the Conference Room of the National Library and is a collaborative effort of the National Library and Petamber Persaud.
The exhibition will be officially opened on April 23, 2007, and the event will run for two days. The public is invited.
Responses to this author telephone (592) 226-0065 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Just off the press is the second edition of “Bibliography of Guyana and Guyanese Writers” compiled and edited by Lal Balkaran, “The Undiminished Link” by Victor Waldron, Hansib 2007, “Cricket at Bourda - Sportsmen & Sportsmanship” and “An Anthology of Short Stories from Guyana” edited by Petamber Persaud, published by Dido Press, UK.