Be prepared to be moved in time, through time, and back to the beginning of time by Urban Voices through dance, music, poetry, and real-life stories of Where We Are Coming From. It’s the 16th Annual 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.

This year, the festival will be a two-day event with the first day, Friday, February 10th reserved for students. The second day is open to the public and begins at 2:00 pm with entertainment by the Jamaica Folk Revue group, poetry by Nicaraguan Poet Francisco Larios, real-life stories of the urban roots of contemporary Jamaican culture by fine artist and media personality Richard Blackford, 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 Jamaican-born Chris Walker, a 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.  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, under the distinguished patronage of Jamaica’s Consul General, Oliver Mair. 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. For more information about the event and the work of the Heritage Council visit: