Following a one-year hiatus in 2011, the celebrated Calabash International Literary Festival made its much anticipated return this year and comfortably reclaimed its place as the premier literary festival in the region, if not the world. From May 28 to 31, the idyllic and disarmingly charming seaside town of Treasure Beach welcomed the island’s literati, academics, patrons of the arts and an impressive roster of homegrown scribes and overseas talent imported for the weekend.
The festival was laced with many interesting, entertaining and poignant moments, and Pree Jamaica was on hand to capture the sights.
- Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie (“Half of a Yellow Sun”, “Purple Hibiscus” and the collection of stories entitled “The Thing Around Your Neck”) receives generous amounts of mosquito repellent before her reading at Calabash.
- Victor Lavalle signs a copy of his book “Big Machine”, which captured the attention of the Calabash crowd.
- While not taking back anything that he had written in his controversial book “The Dead Yard” (in which he suggests that Jamaica is “a kind of corrupted Eden”) Ian Thomson offered an apology of sorts to all who were offended by the contents of his book.
- “The Dead Yard” author Ian Thomson (right) chats with fellow writer Marlon James (“John Crow’s Devil” and “The Book Of Night Women”). Both writers contributed to the “Kingston Noir” anthology edited by Colin Channer.
- No-Maddz brought their unique sound to Treasure Beach.
- On the opening night of Calabash, Raging Fyah played music for the lit-loving rebels.
- Novelist and sociologist H. Orlando Patterson gave the Calabash audience much food for thought in a discussion with Kwame Dawes that deconstructed the Jamaica psyche in socio-historical context, exposing both the good and the bad. Patterson also used the occasion to hail Toots Hibbert as “the definitive voice of Jamaica” and primary musical innovator.
- Kerry Young reads from her novel “Pao”, which proved to be a crowd favourite at Calabash.
Kwame Dawes (right), programming director of the Calabash International Literary Festival, presents a copy of “Jubilation!: Poems Celebrating 50 Years of Jamaican Independence” to Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture.
Garfield Ellis signs a copy of his book “Till I’m Laid To Rest”. The excerpts that he read from the work had the Calabash crowd grimacing, laughing and blushing…not at the same time of course!
From left: H. Orlando Patterson, Elise Kelly, Laura Gambrill-Henzell, Damion Crawford and Captain Horace Burrell after the commemorative reading of “Children of Sisyphus”.
Calabash’s Kwame Dawes, programming director, and Justine Henzell, production director…but no sign of festival co-founder and artistic director Colin Channer, who seemed to have “assumed the uncharacteristic position of settling into the background”.
Calabash Acoustic Ensemble
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