New publishing house seeks to spark literary renaissance

BELIZE CITY, Wed. March 30, 2022 – The first issue of an annual anthology of Belizean poetry and prose was officially released last Saturday by the country’s newest publishing company, Bent Pin Press. The process began in March 2021 and culminated with the publication of Issue 01, which features the work of 17 Belizean storytellers whose poems and short fiction films made the final cut from a pool of nearly 200 submissions, according to editor-in-chief. -head of Bent Pin Press, Samantha Singh.

“It’s really been an adventure,” Singh said, “it’s been a lot of ups and downs, and it’s also been a learning process for me, of course, but it’s been so rewarding. was so great to work with so many different writers in the country.

This collaboration was born out of an effort to support Belizean writers and invigorate Belize’s literary culture while creating a platform through which local artists can gain international exposure.

“I think the real reason we wanted to start Bent Pin Press is that we’re really interested in supporting the writing community locally. It’s a personal passion, I think…. Being able to provide another place where writers from Belize come together and work together was really the push, and I think more than that, we wanted to have a place that was both Belize and part of the international community, so really I think those two principles together are the reason for which we wanted to found Bent Pin,” Singh explained.

While the editorial board initially had no theme in mind for this first issue, they said the truly intimate Belizean experiences seen through the eyes of Belizean authors are a refrain in the content that reverberates throughout the anthology.

Singh noted, “What we ended up with, I think, came together to represent a truly Belizean experience, a very intimate personal experience that Belizeans can relate to. These are plays instead of talking about Belize as a tourist destination or a place to visit or a beautiful place, it was talking about the Belizean experience and life as a Belizean.

André Habet, deputy editor of Bent Pin Press, pointed out that targeting new and promising talented writers was also a primary motivation.

“There were a lot of people who felt like their work had no space at home to go to. They couldn’t imagine who would be interested in it, and so when Samantha started telling me that Bent Pin Press was coming, I wanted us to find those people, the people who have been writing privately for a very long time and really because of the lack experience, because of lack of learning, they didn’t know what it would take to get their work published, and so in a way, Bent Pin Press serves as an entry point for people who, I hopefully will be published much more widely published beyond Bent Pin Press to the right,” said Habet.

He added: “This is hopefully just the beginning for them, not only are they being published here, but hopefully through other workshops, through other panels in the future. what we can do. I want Belizean writers to be raised where you know when someone goes into a store in the US, UK, our Caribbean brother and sister countries, walks into a store and he sees a book by a Belizean author, they might recognize that name in another newspaper, and they want to take a book, you know, take a novel, take a book of poetry.

One of the writers whose poetry is featured in this first issue of the Bent Pin Press Literary Review is the author of Crossroads: A Collection of Poems, Khaila Gentle, who incidentally is also a staff writer with us here in AMANDALA. Her skillful style of storytelling has already captivated many in Belize and abroad, with her book of poems receiving praise and respect from various quarters. Referring to the selection of writers such as Gentle, Bent Pin Press associate editor André Habet said: “It’s really wise of us to jump on the bandwagon for people who are going to be stars. .”

The Bent Pin Press team includes its publisher and editor, Samantha Singh; co-editor, Bianca King; and deputy editor, André Habet. These three are also readers of the articles, as well as Gisselle Hernandez, public relations manager, and Alina Scott.

Issue 1 features cover artwork by Taiwanese-Belizian artist Yaoling Lee. The cover image is one of his many personal sketches depicting daily life in Belize. In the scene featured in this particular piece of art, people are buying fast food at a popular joint in the heart of town, Fibbers. Singh said his discovery of the article happened to be fortuitous, as it fit perfectly with the mood of the publication as a whole.

“It’s not the kind of piece she usually sells; these are her sketches, personal pieces for her, as she shared with us, but it’s about the beauty she sees in parts of Belize that other people don’t see, I think it’s That’s the spirit of a lot of plays and the kind of work we seek to publish,” Singh explained.

The hard copy of issue 1 is being sold for just BZD$30. The journal can also be purchased online from the company’s website via the link Those interested in purchasing a copy locally can make a deposit to Bent Pin Press Belize Bank account: 194099019120000, after which they can email screenshots of the confirmed payment and their address to [email protected] and wait for a message that their copy has been sent. The editorial board is also looking to partner with potential sellers who would like to sell the book in their stores.

Artists featured in this post include Abigail Gongora, Andrea N. West, Anthony Rath, Arnulfo Kantun, Cheyenne Williams, Christopher DeShield, EA Luna, Gerardo Polanco, Jomarie Lanza, Junell “Etheralting” Sanker, Khaila Gentle, Kory Alexander, Kyraan Gregory Gabourel, Rafael Gamero, Toni Acevedo Klassen, Ubaldimir Guerra and Zee Edgell.

About Florence M. Sorensen

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