Here comes The bookYard!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Doretta Fran­cois

Peo­ple who are for­tu­nate enough to at­tain eighty years of age usu­ally cel­e­brate their longevity with a party; few oc­to­ge­nar­i­ans mark the mile­stone in life with the pub­li­ca­tion of their au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. Step for­ward Michael Chas­tanet O.B.E. C.M.G for the of­fi­cial launch of his book ‘Room at the Top’ on Satur­day 20 Fe­bru­ary at The bookYard at the STAR Pub­lish­ing com­pound in Mas­sade.

The event was hosted by Mae Wayne of STAR Pub­lish­ing, ac­com­pa­nied by her hus­band, the writer Rick Wayne. Spe­cially in­vited guests in­cluded Sir Derek Wal­cott, the French Am­bas­sador Eric de La Mous­saye, the Cuban Am­bas­sador Jorge Soberon and the Venezue­lan Am­bas­sador Leiff Escalona. Other dig­ni­taries and gems of Saint Lu­cian so­ci­ety donned their finest to share in the pres­tige of the oc­ca­sion.

The bookYard is the con­cep­tion and cre­ation of Mae Wayne: pub­lisher, avid reader and lover of lit­er­a­ture. Mae, look­ing ev­ery inch a ded­i­cated fol­lower of fash­ion in a daz­zling dress made by Queen Es­ther of Ku­umba De­signs, in­tro­duced the evening and the man of the night, Michael Chas­tanet. She ex­plained the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind The bookYard: how she lamented the dis­ap­pear­ance of book stores and, with it, the loss of a meet­ing place for those who cher­ish the feel of a book in their hands and who love to turn the pages and dis­cuss the con­tents with like-minded folk.

Thanks to Mae’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to keep a tra­di­tion alive, we are now lo­cally blessed with a store at The bookYard stock­ing works by in­ter­na­tional and Caribbean writ­ers, with em­pha­sis on our home­grown tal­ent, en­com­pass­ing fic­tion, non­fic­tion, po­etry and books for chil­dren.

Chas­tanet spoke about his life. When asked by Mae if, in spite of his suc­cess, there were any re­grets, he re­ferred to never hav­ing com­pleted fur­ther education. He re­vealed that he had twice com­menced stud­ies at univer­sity: firstly on a bas­ket­ball schol­ar­ship but he dropped out when his father fell ill; se­condly to pur­sue law but he aban­doned the course in favour of ship­ping. Given all he had achieved with­out a de­gree, Chas­tanet wryly con­cluded that life had not been so bad for him af­ter all.

Hav­ing had their cu­rios­ity whet­ted with glimpses of Chas­tanet’ life, the au­di­ence ea­gerly queued to pur­chase au­to­graphed copies of the book. While min­gling they sipped wines cour­tesy of CPJ Caribbean Pro­duc­ers St. Lu­cia Ltd, and savoured ap­pe­tiz­ers pro­vided by Coco Palm. Guests took the op­por­tu­nity to ven­ture in­side the book store to pur­chase from the col­lec­tion of books and sta­tionery and were pleas­antly sur­prised to dis­cover a line of T-shirts de­signed by Rick Wayne and bear­ing some no­table and news­wor­thy catch­phrases.

Mae Wayne in­tends that The bookYard be­come a meet­ing place for those seek­ing cul­ture, lit­er­a­ture or just plain re­lax­ation. For the added en­joy­ment of pa­trons, a coffee shop will open mid-March; a bou­tique with gift shop is al­ready op­er­a­tional. Open­ing hours are 10 a.m. un­til 6 p.m. Mon­day to Fri­day and 10 a.m. un­til 2 p.m. on Satur­day. Be­sides book launches, The bookYard is also ideal for other artis­tic events such as fash­ion shows and mu­sic pro­mo­tions.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, con­tact the STAR on 450 7827.

A va­ri­ety of books can now be found at The bookYard!

Pho­tos by Bill Mort­ley.

Ai­asha Gus­tave and Mae Wayne both looked

stun­ning.

Michael Chas­tanet signs copies of his books for those who pur­chased on Satur­day.

STAR pub­lisher Rick Wayne with politi­cian and writer

Peter Josie.

STAR Editor Toni Ni­cholas and his

daugh­ter at book launch!

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