Book Week 2019 ends at the Cayo Welcome Center, Belize.
The author, Dr. Henry W. Anderson, gives the Keynote address.
Friday, 12 April 2019
Book lovers and students from the Saint Ignatius High School gathered at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio Town on Friday to celebrate the culmination of a successful Book Week. Being held under the theme, “Book It”, this is the eleventh book fair being brought forward by the Belize Book Industry Association (BBIA).
Past president of the BBIA, Montseratt Casademunt announced to those gathered that 2019 is going to bring in a new era of writing with an upcoming prize for the novella. It is still not clear whether the novella will be a biography or a novelette, but the length of this work has been expanded to 30,000 or 60,000 words, which will range from 90 to 150 pages. While the literary prize is an adult competition for Belizeans residing either at home or abroad, the same prize will also soon go towards a junior and youth competition to provide both national and international recognition for our authors.
At the event on Friday, we were able to meet some of Belize’s accomplished and aspiring wordsmiths, whose daily toil seek to transport their readership through the curvature of space and time. One of these accomplished authors is Dr. Henry W. Anderson from the cultural capital of Dangriga.
Based on information that we gathered from the Amazon website, three of Dr. Anderson’s works have been published in Belize. They are The Son of Kinich, a volume of poetry; The Eddy, a collection of short stories; Ode to the One-Eyed Lady, a novel about a hurricane approaching Belize. Recently published, both as printed and e-books, are Christ Son Of Man-The Voyage To Araboth II, and the first three books of the Sisimito Series: Sisimito I - Ox Witz Ha, Sisimito II - Xibalba, and Sisimito III - Topoxte.
Dr. Anderson, who himself began as a writer at the age of eight, urged our young people on Friday to start a career in writing. At that tender age, he began writing plays and inviting the neighborhood to come and see them at a cost of fifty cents each. For the member from Jabiru Books Belize, the writing landscape has changed tremendously and while urging that “…we cannot allow the electronic media to take over our lives” maintains a constant following on the internet. It is too expensive to print books, he told us. While a printed book will cost $70.00, the same version as an e-book will only cost $14.00
“It is important to do research properly, no matter what you have written, never throw it away at a future date you will be able to use it for something more important... We all aim so that the reader can enjoy, it is very important for us to have our work edited, have it properly reviewed,” Dr. Anderson advised the students from Saint Ignatius. “There are a lot of resources on the internet, but the local advice is more important, reading is very important, you will need to turn off your Wifi, but it is worthwhile.”
Another author we met was Edington Cayetano who also hails from Dangriga. After three years of persistence, Cayetano was able to get both financial and technical assistance from the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) for the first issue of his National Symbols of Belize. Cayetano now hopes to print a thousand copies of his book, which contains valuable information on our National Symbols, National Anthem, Prayer and Belize’s Coat of Arms.
The events of Book Week 2019 held in Belize last week were set in preparation for World Book and Copyright Day observed every year on April 23. The event also celebrates authors, illustrators, books and reading in over 100 countries all over the World and is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). At least locally, we would also like to thank NICH, the Belize National Library Service and Information System and some members from the private sector for making Book Week 2019 a marvelous success.
Administrator, The Guardian Newspaper, Belize
Ode To The One-Eyed Lady
Posted: 09/08/2007 - 09:44 PM Author: Janus
Years before Sebastian Junger, an American, wrote the book titled "A Perfect Storm," published by W. W. Horton & Co., Dr. Henry Anderson, a Belizean, wrote a book about a hurricane which he titled "The One-Eyed Lady". "A Perfect Storm" became a best seller, but few Belizeans have read Dr. Anderson's book. In comparing these two books, you would observe that Mr. Junger did a lot of research about a fishing community on the north coast of America. He also used a lot of imagination in describing the different episodes contained in his story, while you could not help but feel Dr. Anderson wrote from first hand knowledge and experience.
Which is the better way to write a story? I don't know which but, I prefer "The One Eyed Lady" to the "Perfect Storm". Maybe, it's because Anderson is a Belizean and, what is wrong with that? I'm prejudiced but, it is the kind of prejudice that does me no harm. It is the kind of prejudice that it might become all Belizeans to have a bit of. Because, when we become infected by this disease, we will begin to give more support to our local artists, writers and musicians. We have many talented writers in Belize but, their books are lying in the bookstores while we read.
We also have fine literary critics such as Andrew Steinhauer, Sandra Coye and Larry Vernon but, Glenn Tillett paid me the compliment of asking me to write a review of the "The One Eyed Lady" for a magazine he intended to produce. The magazine was never published, and the review was put away with my other writings which have also never been published. I think it may serve to introduce Dr. Anderson to our readers who have not met him.
Ode To The One-Eyed Lady
A review by C.B. Hyde.
First off, I must tell you that I am not a critic. To be a critic you have to be literate; but, especially, you have to be an old curmudgeon, or, at least, an aspiring one. I am not even a book reviewer, but the publisher of this magazine thinks so. So, I have decided to have a go at it.
After reading "The One-Eyed Lady," which I did in two short sittings over two days, I have come to the conclusion that this is a great book, not because it is enjoyable and very easy to read, although it is, but it is, perhaps, the best book ever written on the subject with which it deals. The book has several defects that will be mentioned later on. Dr. Anderson is not a great writer, but this is a great book. I will tell you why I think so.
It seems to me that all the events which take place between the covers of this book are merely incidental. The men, women and children who live and breathe in this book are not real people of flesh and blood. They talk, go through motions, have little adventures, curse and swear, make love, even die, sometimes grotesquely, but they have no real purpose. Their raison d'etre is so the writer can tell you about Dorothy. Nobody will ever remember anything about Richard, Victor, Arthur, Aunt Joan, Sandra or Santiago. They were not meant to be remembered.
Readers will also forget that the story starts with the surreptitious landing of an airplane, carrying a cargo of drugs, on a makeshift airstrip somewhere in Stann Creek. Where did the cargo come from and what was its ultimate destination are loose ends the writer does not bother to tie up - so much window dressing. You might think you have the answer when, near to the end of the story, the yacht belonging to Harold and Bert, the two gay men, was sinking and cellophane packets containing a white powder were floating around. No matter. This story is not about those things. It is about Dorothy. She is like that sweet fairy child, full of wide eyed wonder, who went walking on the yellow brick road to find the Wizard of Oz, but only in two ways. They are both named Dorothy and neither has a last name.
Oz's Dorothy was sweet sixteen at the time of her adventure. This one is only a few days old when the writer makes her acquaintance. In a couple of weeks she grows from a gentle child into a ravening monster. To tell the truth, she becomes a witch with a capital "B." And, in fact, Dorothy is that wonderful but destructive force of nature called a H-U-R-R-l-C-A-N-E. So. It would seem a very strange thing for a reviewer to say about a writer that he fell in love with a monster but, so it seems to me. How else could he be able to write in such wonderful terms about the witch's depredations? Why else would he have the nerve to name his book, "The One Eyed Lady?" unless, he was thinking about Lady Macbeth. It reminds me of Homer describing the magnificent exploits of his hero, Achilles, in The Iliad, although Homer is not in love with Achilles. Dr. Anderson has obviously spent a great deal of time studying about storms. He seems to know as much about this subject as he does about medicine, which is considerable. Anyone who wishes to increase his/her knowledge about the special kind of storm of the class labeled hurricane, should read this book. To date, none better has appeared in print.
I am glad that a Belizean has written this book because I believe that as a nation we have a proprietary feeling about hurricanes, having suffered so much at their hands, although we would like to forego their future attentions. But, it seems a pity that its circulation will be so limited. A book like this would be a best seller if it were written by an American and published by Doubleday or Random House. Of course, if it were published by those giants, it would be refined by the best editors, marketed by experts and presented with imagination and artistry to a potential readership of several millions. However, who is to say that this will not happen, still?
The Amandala Press, Belize
Hey, if you are an adult Belizean, there are two super exciting books you must have on your bookshelf. John Watler's Sea Lotto (Belize's runaway best novel - 303 pages), and Henry W. Anderson's Ode to the One-Eyed Lady (definite Belize top five - 242 pages) are cover-to-cover thrillers.
There's loads of sex (not so steamy), violence, political intrigue (politicians will definitely want to burn), devious lawyers and drug lords and bureaucrats intrigue (they will want to burn too), other assorted wickedness, yes...and love and loyalty and heroics aplenty...and very stormy weather inside those covers. Trust me, you won't put them down.
Oh, in my ratings (I'm kind of prudish, yap) Sea Lotto is PG-13, and Ode to the One-Eyed Lady is for a little more mature readers.
The Son Of Kinich - Illustrated Poetical Works
In his few years on this planet, Henry Anderson has been many things. As a skilled diplomat, he has blazed paths of international cooperation in Washington, the world's diplomatic capital, and Guatemala, Belize's most difficult and important post. As a gifted doctor, he has chosen to labour in a district town and to conduct a practice marked by the sensitive caring of the poor and needy. Though, happily, Henry's success as a politician cannot be measured by service in the National Assembly, he has helped to guide and serve the people of his town of Dangriga and the Stann Creek District. There has probably not been a more tireless and dedicated political servant than Dr. Anderson.
The hallmarks of care and precision which have been observed in Dr. Anderson's many manifestations have also been put to commendable use in his organizing basketball teams for young males in Dangriga. The famous team name, ESANIGU, conjures up images of the caring and compassion for Belize's most endangered species, this has been one of Henry Anderson's contributions to his fellow man.
It should, therefore, not surprise those who know Dr. Henry Anderson that one of his main loves is writing poetry. He has put to excellent service in that medium his craftsmanship and sensitivity.
Mastery over form and catholic techniques are staples in this poet's work, which is also very accessible. This is befitting, given in the evolution of poetry in Belize and the state of general poetic awareness which prevails.
Coming from one with Dr. Anderson's profile, it is natural that an outstanding feature of the poetry is the poet's sympathetic understanding of the human condition in its varied circumstances-political, social and cultural. Belizean themes are sharply etched in these sensitive verses. Regional particularities show through, when required by the context. Yet, throughout, the poet seeks to demonstrate his passionate desire to contribute to the forgoing of a universal multi-faceted Belizean personality. Throughout, too, there shines the luminescence of caring, sensitivity and humour, often in short measure in a society sometimes unforgiving of this debtors and, with a surprising tendency towards insularity, even as (perhaps because of) its bombardment by outside influences. This poetry is most welcome in a society which sometimes has difficulty appreciating that its difficulties, both communal and individual, are the common coinage of the human condition.
Edward A. Laing, Ambassador of Belize to the United States of America
Ode to the One-Eyed Lady - He (Anderson) has a direct, succinct way with using significant details to paint vivid visuals and an original, jarring technique to juxtapose themes and characters.
Steinhauer's Say, The Report Press
The Son of Kinich - A cerebral work that is so intellectually stimulating that it leaves one staring beyond the book and into space.
The Reporter Press
The Eddy - These short stories are opening new boundaries for the Belizean author.
Myrna Manzanares, Belizean Author