758 BOOKS has always been about more than just books. It’s been about loving the local and nurturing what is ours.
From the beginning, Dahlia Francois, the visionary behind it, wanted to generate a vibe where Saint Lucians, especially young Saint Lucians, got excited by what was created here. Literature is at the heart of that vision, the most visible leading edge of the enterprise she’s started.
The burning question, though: How to encourage children, youth, young adults to have a love affair with the word, especially the printed word?
Any good educator will tell you: start with your environment, experiences you know, types of persons you recognize. When young people see themselves – their interests, their passions, their concerns – in print, they connect with print. (Check Yo! Magazine to see the truth of this.)
So, for the last two years, Dahlia has focused her fabulous annual exhibitions of Saint Lucian literature on the young.
This happens in the Nobel Laureate Week season, but during the rest of the year Saint Lucian writing is on display on the bookshelves of wherever the 758 Bookstore happens to be located.
And alongside the literature are the local juices, teas, pastries etc, with tables and chairs so you can chill while snacking and chatting.
There have been different venues but with the most recent venue, the 758 Books Movement might have found a home to match its dreams.
And on Saturday Dec 15th at 4:00 pm, everyone is invited to come share in that dream and bring it more into reality.
On that day, the food court at Gablewoods Mall will bubble and buzz with local snacks, juice, tea.
The atmosphere will vibrate with voices of writers – older and younger, page poets and Spoken Word poets, English and Kwéyòl – sharing work with the audience.
Saint Lucian music – traditional and modern, in different genres – will resonate in the air, reminding us of how much great music is being created here.
Saturday 15th is meant to give a taste of what the future can be: a literary café with events, literary and musical; artists and people mingling casually; interesting discussions happening spontaneously; more ideas and suggestions for further activities; a future with regular bursts of innovative artistic events with a difference.
And the location is ideal – easy to get to and from on the best-serviced bus route in the island.
For now, the food court is normally a dead zone after 4:00 pm on a week day. But all that can change, beginning on Saturday Dec 15th at 4:00 pm.
Everyone is invited to come and be part of that change, part of making that change happen.