This weekend, an estimated 5,000 lovers of literature and poetry will descend on the community of Treasure Beach on Jamaica’s south coast to listen to 30 authors read from their works at the Calabash International Literary Festival. The theme of this year’s festival, which starts this Friday, May 25th and ends on Sunday, is Jubilation! 50.
Started 11 years ago, Calabash was shelved last year because of lack of funding. At the time of the announcement, the organizers, poet Kwame Dawes and novelist Colin Channer, and hotelier Justine Henzell, promised that the festival would be back this year for Jamaica’s 50th anniversary celebration of its independence from Britain.
With a lineup of international and local authors, poets and musicians, from Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, the U.S. and the U.K., this year’s Calabash International Literary Festival resumes its proven format. Gathered under a huge tent that is pitched just steps from the Caribbean Sea, attendees will hear the sound of waves crashing (or rolling) to the shore as they listen to readings interspersed with interviews and open mic performances. Each day’s session ends with music.
The following authors will be heard at the Calabash International Literature Festival this weekend:
Chimamanda Adichie The Admiral Wayne Armond Jacqueline Bishop Loretta Collins
Carolyn Cooper Michael “Ibo” Cooper Christine Craig Fred D’Aguilar Marcia Douglas
Garfield Ellis Carolyn Forche Steve Golding Vivien Goldman Colin Grant
Laura Henzell Paul Holdengraber Melissa Jones Sadie Jones Ronnie Kasrils
Victor Lavalle Shara McCallum Alecia McKenzie Maaza Mengiste Anis Moigani
Orlando Patterson Patricia Powell Claudia Rankine Olive Senior Seretse Small
Sonjah Stanley Niaah Ian Thomson Kerry Young Kevin Young
Despite its funding problems, the Calabash International Literary Festival remains free and open to the public. Donations are welcomed and can be made at their website.
Other literature festivals that take place in the Caribbean:
* Anguilla Literary Festival, May
* BIM Literary Festival & Bookfair (Barbados), May
* Bocas Literary Festival (Trinidad & Tobago), April
* Havana International Book Fair, February
* Nature Island Literary Festival (Dominica), August
* St. Martin Bookfair, May