My 90-minute Caribbean Playground presentation on Saturday, March 11, 2017 was a success! I was nervous about keeping the kids engaged for that long but I soon realized that I had nothing to worry about. The kids learned about Caribbean Carnival history, a finger rhyme, and a folksong, played games, danced to soca, listened to stories, and asked amazing questions. My favourite questions were from Joshua who was probably about 8 years. He had several including "How do you choose from all your stories the ones to work on? How do you stay encouraged?" I was thinking, where did they find him? And when can he conduct my interviews? I am thankful for every presentation experience as they are practice for the next one. I've done 20+ so far and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai was my first international festival. It never gets tired. Sign me up!!!!
I clearly found my picture book presentation style doppelganger in British children's book author-Illustrator, Sarah McIntyre (down to the hair extensions, glasses, and peacock blue African patchwork dress). We totally did not plan this but Sarah gets it and her outfit is "on point". Crazy!!! We bring the theatre and style to book talks.
I also met Smriti Prasadam-Halls, an Indian-British children's book author whose title, T-Veg about a vegetarian dinosaur, I purchased and got autographed. I also met other delightful authors and notaries.
There were also two events that I attended before my festival presentation that were especially organized for participating authors and individuals.
The first event I attended was the Arabian Feast which was filled with a night of poetry at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. It was a lovely evening under the stars.
The second one I attended was the "Love Letters to the UAE" formal dinner event at the newly completed Etihad Museum. More "festivaling" at the Love Letters to the UAE event and dinner as part of @emirateslitfest. The food was delicious, veggie options plentiful, and tablemates delightful. I even got a photo with the UAE's first Emirati woman spoken word artist, Afra Atiq, and met an aspiring author from Waterloo, Ontario (where I completed my undergraduate degree). The Etihad Museum is on the site of where the UAE was founded in 1971.