Caribbean Literary Salon is a self-described meeting place for readers and writers, but that description doesn't fully serve to explain this online community, or its potential. The Caribbean Literary Salon brings together the producers and consumers of Caribbean literature in an informal, online setting, allowing them to interact, share and create in a unique digital environment.
Using the Ning social network platform, the Caribbean Literary Salon was launched in March of 2010; the brainchild of Aruba based writer, Anouska Kock. In 2012, the torch was passed to current CLS owner Kris Rampersad, from Trinidad and Tobago. Through ups and downs and a change in management, the community has carried on to the point of celebrating its third anniversary and is still going strong.
As with any online community, there are those members who actively participate and those that lurk in the shadows. In the case of CLS, these out front participants are a mix of writers, readers and publishers. As of this writing, there are nearly 700 registered members of the community. That seems no small number considering the so-called niche market that Caribbean Literature represents.
At CLS, you will find members from throughout the Caribbean region, as well as members of the Caribbean diaspora abroad. Importantly, as well, you will find non-Caribbean peoples who share an interest in the region and its literature. The membership is multi-national, multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-talented. Unlike many online forums, despite the diverse make-up of its members, the Caribbean Literary Salon remains a respectful, helpful and sociable space to gather. There are discussions, but really no arguing.
On any given day, a visit to the main page of the Caribbean Literary Salon may reveal new poems and stories, news of literary events, interviews with authors, calls for submissions to literary journals, or simply casual conversation about the latest book someone has read. Members even contribute photos and videos that highlight their literary lives.
As the Caribbean Literary Salon celebrates its third anniversary, there is still much potential for growth and, like most endeavors, some may wish to see a higher and more consistent level of content and activity. Still, from its humble beginnings as a mere idea to a thriving community of both professional and emerging writers, as well as those who read their works, CLS has carved out a space to be proud of. Niche market, or not, it is clear that Caribbean literature and the Caribbean Literary Salon are alive and well.