Be prepared to be moved in time, through time, and back to the beginning of time immersed in dance, music, poetry, and real-life stories of Where We Are Coming From. It’s the 16th Annual Louise Bennett-Coverley Reading Festival, presented by the Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council – Saturday, February 11, 2023, at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  A special presentation for students only will be staged on Friday, February 10th.

This year’s theme, “Urban Voices” will feature music by the Tallawah Mento Band, poetry by Nicaraguan Poet Francisco Larios, real-life stories of the urban roots of contemporary Jamaican culture by Sydney Roberts, and spoken word, hip- hop and dance with the First Wave Touring Ensemble from the Urban Arts Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.    ​

The keynote presenter is Professor Chris Walker, a Jamaican-born professor of dance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a former dancer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC). For the company’s 60th anniversary repertoire, Walker choreographed the tribute to Reggae matriarch Rita Marley. His lecture demonstration – Poetry in Motion – will focus on African Diaspora culture and traditions. Francisco Larios has three poetry collections to his credit. He lectures at Miami-Dade College and has read internationally. Community activist Sydney Roberts is the head of Jamaica Awareness. He grew up in West Kingston, Jamaica, and has been immersed in the development of Jamaica’s cultural expressions since the early 1960s. A panel discussion on aspects of Caribbean culture will follow the presentations. MC for the event is Sophia Nicholson.​

This free community event is presented by the Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council. For details and more information visit  Funding is provided in part by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council. Sponsors include Friends of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center and the Jamaica Tourist Board.