The Calabash Literary Festival is scheduled to be held at Jakes in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, on June 1-3, 2018, under the theme: Calabash Lit Up. The event is free and open to the public.
The female Poets laureates are: Carol Ann Duffy from Britain; Jamaica's Lorna Goodison; Canada's Georgette LeBlanc; and Tracy K Smith from the United States.
“This is a formidable line-up of women's voices rich in wisdom, passion and brilliant intellectual prowess!” reiterated Kwame Dawes, festival co-founder.
MOBO award-winning hip-hop artiste Akala; Malika Booker, British poet of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage; American author Sloane Crosley; Safia Elhillo; American publisher Jonathan Galassi; writer Isis Semaj-Hall; American actor/writer Michael Imperioli; Kenyan poet Peter Kimani; Laura Lippman, Somali-British writer/poet Warsan Shire and British-Jamaican poet Linton Kwesi Johnson are also rostered.
Tuesday's event also saw the launch of Rachel Manley's first novel, The Black Peacock.Henzell said the Calabash Literary Festival is living up to its expectations.
“It provides a stage for diverse points of view and voices to be heard and that is essential to our own growth as people and as writers. And Jamaica is a place that has produced remarkable geniuses, remarkable individuals and a tremendously influential cultural force that has gone global. We engage the world not as beggars and grovellers but as people who are adding value to the world. Our festival is a gift to Jamaicans. Jamaicans need to be gifted with the greatest literary festival in the world,” she said.
According to the co-founder, 3,000 people attended the event's 2016 staging. She expects that figure to rise.
“It's growing in terms of its global stature. We no longer have to explain what Calabash is overseas. The Man Booker Prize Organization has partnered with Calabash as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. In 2016, the Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize did as well. It shows the level of recognition Calabash has achieved in the literary world,” she added.
On the event's final day, there will be a musical tribute to ska trombonist and composer Don Drummond by Calabash Acoustic Ensemble, which comprises Ibo Cooper, Wayne Armond, Steve Golding and friends.