Can you guess who was on prime-time news in Cuba?

Anita’s Revolution presentation at Havana International Book Fair in February 2016

On February 18th, the translated edition of my book, Anita’s Revolution was launched before a standing room only crowd of Cubans at the International Book Fair in Havana. It was a dynamic presentation. I was introduced by the Director of the Literacy Campaign Museum, Luisa Campos Gallardo, who gave a really perceptive talk on some of the book’s highlights. The publisher, Gente Nueva, sold many copies of the book, titled Anita La Brigadista in Spanish. I signed books until cramps in my hand prevented me from signing more. An excerpt from my presentation was shown on Cuba’s prime-time news at 8 pm, again at 11 pm, then again the next morning at 11 am. All very exciting!

A few days later (on my birthday, actually), Madam Campos Gallardo arranged another presentation at the Literacy Campaign Museum. Many of those attending were now elderly “brigadistas”, those young volunteer literacy teachers of 1961, the heroes described in my book. Many recounted their remarkable experiences teaching Cuba’s then illiterate people during the campaign. All were thrilled to have their contribution to Cuba’s history celebrated in a novel. Everyone wanted to know how come it happened that a Canadian wrote their story. I told them it was because the story of Cuba’s literacy campaign with youth at the centre of it is so remarkable, I wanted the world to know about it.

Again, it was a lively encounter. Cubans are so outgoing and lively themselves. Everyone was served a demi-tasse cup of real Cuban espresso coffee, and Surprise! my birthday was celebrated by all present with a real birthday cake. Viva Cuba! and the Cuban people.

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