Calabash comes to fruition
It was psychiatrist Dr Fred Hickling's coining of the word 'Fruu-ish-aan' (fruition) some 10 years ago that influenced the theme for Calabash 2016.
Describing the richness of the literary arts festival in the early 2000s, Hickling's comment to founding members Kwame Dawes and Collin Channer then was, "This is a fruition of all things."
Last weekend, that idea showed it had blossomed into the coming together of a vision, the coming together of the generosity of people, the coming together of Jamaicans in the best ways they know.
It was an all-fruits-ripe occasion at the Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, venue with all indication that the biennial event had achieved its goals of bringing a festival of international calibre to Jamaicans.
Between Friday, June 3, and the evening of Sunday, June 5, 'Calabashers', who are actually now part of a movement, stayed true to the art forms, listening attentively to writers from four continents, representing countries such as Nigeria, Somalia, India, Macedonia, Great Britain, Ukraine, the United States, New Zealand, Canada, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica.
Not lacking controversy or excitement, Nigeria's Chris Abani was mentioned by many as the highlight of the event; Jamaica's Kei Miller was unforgettable; and New Zealand's Eleanor Cotton delivered an eye-opener.
The popular Rum Tree posse members: Dollis Campbell, Aloun Assamba, Millicent Lynch (now a devout Christian), Marcia Wright, who founded a fairer isle in Turks and Caicos, Lorna Robinson, Gaudia Aquart, Nurma James, Dr Diana Davis-Smith were all absent because of circumstances beyond their control. However, their spot at the Jack Sprat location had newcomers daily.
"Calabash is now a rooted institution in Jamaica that has borne many fruits over the years. That the festival continues to attract some of the greatest writers working today speaks to its place as a fixture in the literary world festival circuit," say the organisers.