Grange urges Jamaicans to write, publish

Jamaicans are being encouraged by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange to write and publish their own stories.

Speaking during a virtual celebration of World Book and Copyright Day 2021, last Friday, Grange said it is important to write and “to tell our stories from our unique perspectives.

“Our song writers are lyricists and many of our musicians are composers and our visual artists are story tellers. You, too, can publish books,” she said.

The minister encouraged writers to make use of the provisions of the Copyright Act and other services through the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO); Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY); Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors & Publishers Limited (JACAP); Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS) and the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) to protect and promote their works.

“Remember to deposit a copy of your work at the National Library which is the keeper of the nation’s archives of the created and digital publications,” she said.

The celebration, which was held under the theme: ‘Read…so you never feel alone’, was streamed on the NLJ’s YouTube page. Jamaican authors, both locally and in the Diaspora, read passages from their books during the event.

Referring to the theme, Grange said that people have rediscovered the pleasures of reading, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when they have to social distance from family and friends.

“So if you are feeling isolated I encourage you to read so you can never be alone,” she added.

For her part, director and representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Cluster Office of the Caribbean, Dr Saadia Sanchez-Vegas, in a message, said that books are “windows to the world and other forms of existence.”

“The power of books must be fully harnessed. We must ensure their access so that everyone can take refuge in reading and by doing so, be able to dream, learn and reflect,” she said.

Dr Sanchez-Vegas said that professions associated with books, such as translators and publishers, must be protected and their value acknowledged.

“This is all the more relevant in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which poses a deep and lasting threat to culture,” she added.

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