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100 days of activities to mark Miss Lou’s centenary – Grange 

Cultural icon, Louise Bennett-Coverly is to be specially-recognised on the centenary of her birth, according to the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange.

Bennett-Coverly, who was affectionately called ‘Miss Lou’, was born on September 7, 1919, and died on July 26, 2006.

“This year, on September 7, we will celebrate the centenary of our beloved Miss Lou. It is a celebration that will last over a period of 100 days, with special activities across the country, organised by various agencies, including the National Library of Jamaica, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) and the Bureau of Gender Affairs,” said Grange.

The minister made the announcement on Tuesday during her contribution to the 2019-2020 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

“Miss Lou will be celebrated as social commentator, poet and advocate, and in particular, as chief exponent and proponent of the Jamaican language,” Grange said.

She cited the critical role Miss Lou played in bringing recognition to Jamaican patois.

“Our Jamaican patois is indigenous to this country. Our mother of culture, the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverly, has taught us as a country, to honour and respect our native tongue,” said Grange.

She told the House that in tribute to Miss Lou, the Culture Ministry has engaged the University of the West Indies (UWI) to use the celebration of her life as the catalyst of a national dialogue on the status of the Jamaican patois. Grange said the national dialogue will have implications for how patois is positioned in social and official discourse.

Meanwhile, Grange also announced the proclamation of National Poetry Day, which will be celebrated each year on March 21. That is the same day that many countries across the world highlight and celebrate poetry.

The minister also thanked national poet laureate, Dr Lorna Goodison, for her work in the promotion of poetry.

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