If I had been writing during the hours I have spent trying to figure how to live full time in Anguilla, I would be the author of fourteen, rather than thirteen, novels.
My husband and I first visited here in 2008, on what we thought would be yet another sojourn to a warm, sunny island to escape the New York winters to which I have never accustomed. But there is nothing “just another …” about Anguilla. The sand and the water hug you. From the moment we arrived, this island felt familiar, like it had been my home in another lifetime. And its people—those born and bred, those arriving from other parts of the Caribbean, the overseas expats—felt like rediscovered family.
The Anguilla Lit Fest 2016 was an extension of the sense of community we have always felt here. Where the focus of many author events is on the sale of a recent book, this was a celebration of authors’ ideas, craft, and hearts. The theme of the festival–A Literary Jollification–captures the idea of coming together for enjoyment and in common service. Memoirists, essayists, historians, poets, children’s authors, and novelists of all sorts found a bond in a love of storytelling and the written word. Published authors taught, encouraged and, yes, learned from those still struggling to put their thoughts on the page. A library filled with attentive children, wanting to know nothing more than that it is possible to write, reminded all of us that at one point we dreamed of being authors, too.
I may never stop dreaming about a full-time life in Anguilla, but in Anguilla—and at the Lit Fest—I am invigorated and reminded that my real life, working as a storyteller, is already a dream fulfilled.