Meet the Author Program honors Lawrence G Vernon

vlcsnap-2013-06-14-19h44m09s246The Meet the Author Program, initiated by the National Heritage Library of Belize, honors Belizeans who have contributed to the literary output of the nation, and the latest author to be recognized is Lawrence G. Vernon. He joins the likes of Felicia Hernandez, His Excellency the Governor General of Belize, Sir Colville Young and Dr. Corinth-Morter Lewis, among other esteemed writers. Mr Vernon is one of the pioneers of the public library system in Belize; he became employed with the Belize National Library Service in 1956 and thereafter held a number of other key positions within the sector and by 2003, he was appointed the present post of Principal Librarian responsible for institutional development at the Belize National Library Service. It was during these decades of being amongst heaps of literary and historical works that his passion for writing boomed. At yesterday’s honoree service, Mr Vernon spoke on both his writing and librarian career.

Lawrence G. Vernon – Principal Librarian:
vlcsnap-2013-06-14-19h44m27s181Reading, in my mind, leads to writing. Although from my youth, as Dylan mentioned, I have always been an avid reader and that might have prompted me to experiment with writing. However, I must tell you that a liking for reading is not what led me to become a librarian. The reason was more of a genuine liking for people and to help them to find the information they needed. A few years later, in 1961, an anthology of short stories titled “Among My Souvenirs” was published. The writers at that time were Leo Bradley, John Wackla and myself.

Vernon’s contribution to Belize’s literature includes short stories, some of which have been published, one of the most popular being “The Third Wish” published in the 1995 Anthropology of Belizean Short Fiction: Snapshots of Belize. He later transitioned from creative writing to research writing, particularly on the history of political parties and the cultural groups in Belize. The author emphasized on the importance of research writing to a country’s recorded history.

Lawrence G. Vernon – Principal Librarian:
vlcsnap-2013-06-14-19h44m57s229I did not abandon creative writing because I became uncreative, but more so because I detected that there was a perceived need for me to gather data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge among those persons and student who were using the library at that time. I learned early in my library career, the importance of research, but a lot of people do not like to do it, unless it is compulsory. Another reason is because the more research that is done and the more evidence that is gathered will always have a great impact on the future of Belize. We will then avoid the risk of making an important decision with little or no evidence to support it and that is sort of dangerous. 

Lawrence G. Vernon continues to be involved in efforts to strengthen and expand the public libraries network in Belize and improve access to relevant information and education by all Belizeans, especially children and special needs groups. During the Q&A session, Vernon was asked what inspires him. His answer was, “I don’t know about inspiration, because if you sit and wait for inspiration, it never comes.”

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