After much trepidation and fears about financial obstacles to its production (see posts from March 28, 2009), the Calabash International Literary Festival is definitely on. It will take place during the weekend of May 22-24, 2009, in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth (Jamaica). The mission of the festival is to promote and foster literary and performing arts in the Caribbean. Founded in 2001 by novelist Colin Channer with the support of poet Kwame Dawes and producer Justine Henzell, the three-day festival has been characterized as “earthy, inspirational, daring, and diverse.” It combines readings and music with other forms of storytelling. All festival events are free and open to the public.
Among the writers, scholars, and performers who will participate in this year’s Calabash International Literary Festival are George Lamming, Edwige Danticat, Junot Díaz, Staceyann Chin, Ibo Cooper, Selwyn Cudjoe, Kwame Dawes, Laura Fish, Marlon James, Rachel Manley, Geoffrey Philp, Velma Pollard, Melvyn Van Peebles, and Dr. Kingsley “Ragashanti” Stewart (who we remember fondly from his years at Vassar College and the memorable 1993 International Studies 110 Study Trip to Jamaica).
For information on the festival, schedule, a full list of participants and their biographies, see http://www.calabashfestival.org/2009/index.htm