United Women Book Club sets the mood, “vibrant characters, awe-inspiring landscapes of our island” from Lasana Sekou’s novellas
CAY HILL, St. Martin (June 6, 2023)—The United Women Book Club (UWBC) will host its “Sip & Chat” literary evening here on July 9, 2023, at Tiki Pool Bar on Bison Drive.
The UWBC featured guest will be the “acclaimed St. Martin author Lasana M. Sekou. Lasana will read from and discuss his remarkable book of fiction Love Songs Make You Cry,” said Danielle Chance, UWBC founder.
“It’s an invitation to step into the enchanting world of literature, celebrate Caribbean Literature Day 2023, and have an evening of delightful literary reading and insightful discussion of the first book of short stories about our unique St. Martin island,” said Chance.
While first published in 1989 by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), it is Love Songs’ second edition from 2014, which will be the book of the hour at the “Sip & Chat” in July 2023.
“The Sip & Chat aims to bring our community together, celebrate literary accomplishments of our local authors, and foster an environment where meaningful connections between individuals from diverse backgrounds can flourish,” said Chance.
Noted critic Howard Fergus had early on touched on the individuality, diversity, and community in Love Songs: “Sekou uses his characters community names and not their Sunday School names—Fatty, Taata, Gas, Weeze. … The author reveals character by using the idiom of his people in his narrative. People are ‘fresh’ and give ‘cut-eyes’ and a grannie dubs a teenager a ‘pissy-tale nastiness.’ …
“It is St. Maarten—joyous, seamy, stifling—but restive and dynamic all the same. The author knows local names and habitation where life flows—the villages, the beaches, and the hotels. He faithfully portrays the warmth and richness of community lifeways where people’s lives touch each other, …
“There is another unmistakable element in the stories which warrants comment. It is the way Sekou links the real world with the subliminal world, the netherworld of nightmare and spirits.” (The Caribbean Writer)
Love Songs Make You Cry has been taught in USA and Italian universities, said HNP president Jacqueline Sample, currently on the island for pre-St. Martin Book Fair activities.
But it is in the second edition that “Sekou reinvents his prose. ... The depth of his discourse and the scope of his subjects give his stories a universal, yet unique, character well beyond the boundaries of a Caribbean readership,” said Michela A. Calderaro, who taught English literature at the University of Trieste, Italy.
For UWBC, the borderlessness of Love Songs Make You Cry begins at home and “highlights the power of literature to inspire, educate, and unite as the author’s words bring to life the rich history, vibrant characters, and awe-inspiring landscapes of our island,” said Chance.
“In addition to Lasana’s exciting style of reading, the UWBC plans to make the July 9 evening more engaging by interviewing the author. We want details from Lasana about his book, which unravels hidden stories of our beloved St. Martin and seduces us with elements of the Caribbean cultural tapestry,” said Chance.
Sip & Chat is also about the sun setting over Cay Hill, “immersing yourself in an intimate ambiance while enjoying delicious sips and delectable bites. The Tiki Pool Bar, with its tranquil surroundings and warm hospitality, provides the perfect setting for an evening of literary exploration and stimulating dialogue that includes the audience,” said Chance.
“Come prepared with your copy of Love Songs Make You Cry from Arnia’s Bookstore, SPDbooks.org, or UWBC members. The book will also be available at the Sip & Chat for guests and book signing by the author,” said Fabienne Chance, UWBC social media manager.