Sun | Jan 21, 2018

The Gleaner Honour Awards | Calabash International Literary Festival

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
A section of the crowd at the Calabash Literary Festival in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth in 2016.
Participants' book covers made into art at Calabash Literary Festival in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth in 2016.


"Calabash is, in a nutshell, all that's right with Jamaica" - Wall Street Journal, June 2010

"(Salman) Rushdie said it's no wonder that Calabash has steadily earned a name as a festival of choice for some of the world's most gifted authors. 'It is an extraordinary event. The audience is big, extremely appreciative, very focused. And the setting is spectacular,' he told The Associated Press a day after he took to the stage to discuss his writings and career in front of an eager, diverse crowd of a few thousand people." - Associated Press, June 2014

The Calabash International Literary Festival was founded in 2001 by three Jamaicans: novelist Colin Channer, poet Kwame Dawes, and producer Justine Henzell.

The aim was simple: create a world-class literary festival with roots in Jamaica and branches reaching out into the wider world.

It is fair to say that the dream has been realised - and expectations exceeded.

A festival of readings and music, Calabash has grown into one of the most popular and beloved literary gatherings in the world. That it is and has always been uniquely Jamaican is reflective of the power of the national brand. It also demonstrates the foresight of the festival's organisers.

Calabash is now a biennial staple in the sea-kissed south coast town of Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth. The economic benefits that the festival provides to the area are massive.

All festival events are free and open to the public. "Passion is the only price of entry," as stated on the festival's website.

Among the international authors who have taken part in the festival are Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Jamaica Kincaid, Derek Walcott, Junot Diaz, Elizabeth Alexander, Russell Banks, Edwidge Danticat, Caryl Phillips, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Mervyn Morris, Kei Miller, Marlon James, Eleanor Catton, and many others.

For continued support of the Jamaican literary culture and exposing Jamaicans to top local and international practitioners, the Calabash Literary Festival is the recipient of the 2016 Gleaner Honour Award in the category Arts and Culture.