The Knowsley mansion, at 1 Queen’s Park West, proved to be the perfect space for the literary evening and tea party LiTTribute hosted by author and researcher Dr Kris Rampersad recently. The event, held under the patronage of Her Excellency Jean Ramjohn Richards, featured not just readings from Rampersad’s recently launched book LiTTscapes—Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago but it also threw the spotlight on this country’s young talent through song (Andre Mangatal and Fitzroy Inniss), drum talk and drumming (Chibale Drumming Ensemble featuring five-year-old Ire Charles) and Saiesh Rampersad, another five-year- old, in the role of The Mystic Masseur. The evening was deliberately designed to reclaim and refocus attention on “the amazing mass of expression—oral and written and the connections between them,” Rampersad said.
She added: “LiTTribute, like the book, and like the book launch was meant to celebrate Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinbagonian spirit, our resilience, our enterprise and creativity; our ability to smile and laugh and throw picong in the face of tremendous odds—all the things we seem to forget because we are too busy complaining about what someone else is not doing. It is meant to ask us to look inward, look towards ourselves, find our place and say that this is mine little corner, let me look after it and make a difference here. If everyone claims that responsibility think of what we can collectively accomplish.” In her speech Her Excellency said “we must take account of the physical landmarks that rally us behind our history which impels us toward our future. We have a duty to preserve our historic buildings and therefore we must ensure that public policy take account of our urgings, our sustained urgings, lest we become poor imitations of foreign places while features of our history crumble around us.”
Eintou Pearl Spriner, in her appraisal of LiTTscapes, said her own experiences clearly illustrate the importance of one’s literature to sense of self, to self worth, to cultural literacy; to analysing, evaluating; to being pregnant with ideas about the inherent possibilities of shaping, reshaping our population. “Literature is not merely confined to pages in books, but to our kaiso, our pichakaree, chutney, stick fight lavways, our Traditional Mas speeches, midnight robber, pierrot, Black Indian, warao; our great variety of drum beats, folk songs, chants”, Springer said.