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Jun 17, 2005

Women?s literature anthology launched

Story PictureA new anthology of Belizean literature featuring fourteen women writers was launched today by Cubola Productions. “Memories, Dreams and Nightmares, Volume 2″ is a collection of fourteen short stories and includes such established writers as Zee Edgell, Kathy Esquivel, Zoila Ellis, and Myrna Manzanares as well as introduces the work of up and coming new writers such as Holly Edgell and Arifah Lightburn. Other writers include Minerva Aponte-Jolly, Jessie Nunez Castillo, Sandra Crough, Felicia Hernandez, Melba Marin-Velasquez, Sylvia Nablo de Vasquez, and Natalie Williams. The anthology was edited by Gay Willentz. Seven of the contributors were present at the launch this morning at the House of Culture where Arifah Lightburn was invited to read an excerpt of her story “A Tiny Roach”.

Arifah Lightburn, Author, ?A Tiny Roach?
?I know what Mammy will say. Her already full mouth swollen with curses and all knowing, will pout with consternation, even her wide almond eyes, deep as fresh coals will crease, heavy with concern into slits, razor thin and search out some cautionary supernatural presence. She will say, ?Hmph, it?s a sign, I am sure. You need to rid your life of someone. It?s probably some man in your life, that?s it, and you need to wash him out. Cleanse yourself, that?s what the soapsuds mean. And since it was dead, the roach, it means you can conquer him, the man.?

?But I will know better. I already know from the ache and from the fleeting cramps deep in my belly that bite into me like a ravenous child, cruelly gnawing on a tender nipple, senseless to the pain it inflicts. I already know. ?My womb is sick,? I confide in the night. But the night, apathetic, does not reply. And since no fulfilled lover curls close to me on wrinkled sheets, no fulfilled lover can hold me or whisper empty comforts on his stale lover?s breath. ?I am alone,? I cry to the night, ?I am alone.? But the night, mocking, does not answer.?

(Applause)

Montserrat Casademunt, Publisher, Cubola Productions
?the stories in this volume are very powerful and they talk about issues that we talk about in newspapers and real life, but I think they come out, with much more feeling than if you just read it or see it. It is my hope that teachers will pick it up. Some of the stories are very powerful, very strong. But I think the issues need to come out and we need to talk about all these things that our women, our creative people are expressing in the stories. We are having a workshop right after the launch. We will be discussing incorporating literature in the secondary and tertiary curricula. I would of course encourage everyone to buy the book and read it, and not just because I am the publisher but because of my love for books.?

Cubola Productions has been publishing books about Belize and by Belizean writers for the past thirty-three years. This is the company’s sixth literary anthology.


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