Dr. Amina Blackwood Meeks

Storyteller, Author & College Orator - EMCVPA

    Amina Blackwood Meeks is a writer and director of children’s plays and contemporary stories. She is also an award-winning actress, performer, workshop facilitator, motivational speaker and custodian of oral tradition. The highly acclaimed international storyteller has been featured in festivals in South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Mexico and across the Caribbean. She has also been credited for having made a major contribution to the recent revival of storytelling in the Caribbean. Blackwood Meeks is the holder of Cayman’s highest award for culture, The Gold Star of Cayman, for her contribution to the development of storytelling in the Cayman Islands. She is the founder and programs director of Ntukuma, The Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica, which is dedicated to exploring the connections between the ancient wit and wisdom of African ancestry and the ways in which this heritage has immediate redemptive applications for the growth, development, and continuation of civilization. She is also the founder and executive director of Ananse SoundSplash, the annual storytelling festival/conference in Jamaica.

    All Sessions by Dr. Amina Blackwood Meeks

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Trojan Ballroom

    Meet the Storyteller

    Presenter: Dr. Amina Blackwood Meeks, Storyteller, Author & College Orator - EMCVPA

    In the quest for cultural preservation and societal unity, concerns arise regarding the significance of the oral tradition and its place in today's world. With the rise of a global culture, communities and cultures are rediscovering the profound value of storytelling in fostering societal wholeness. To fully appreciate this, we must delve into the role of the storyteller and challenge the colonial depictions of key figures like Ananse, who hold pivotal roles in the oral traditions of Jamaican, Caribbean, and African peoples. Join us for a highly interactive lecture presentation that explores the multifaceted agenda of storytellers, the contributions of stories, and the transformative impact storytelling can have on development.

    1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    Trojan Ballroom

    From the Caribbean to the World: Navigating the Future of Literature

    Moderator: Dr. Amina Blackwood Meeks, Storyteller, Author & College Orator - EMCVPA

    Panelists: Dr. Myriam Chancy, Author of “What Storm, What Thunder”
    Judith Falloon-Reid, Author, Film Director and Host of Shelf Life

    This panel discussion focuses on current literary trends and opportunities available for Caribbean writers and poets. The panelists will explore changes in the literary landscape over the last decade, with a particular emphasis on readers' interest in diverse voices. The discussion will cover various topics such as the emergence of new and trending genres like sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and graphic literature in tropical settings, the advantages and disadvantages of creating original works versus adaptations of successful novels, and the growing popularity of poetic novels or novels in verse. Additionally, the panelists will discuss strategies for promoting and marketing literary works to reach readers in the Caribbean Diaspora and beyond, highlighting publishers that are seeking diverse voices and sharing insights on how to connect with a global audience. This discussion is a must-attend for anyone interested in the Caribbean literary scene, whether they are writers, publishers, or simply enthusiasts.