ORGANISERS for the biennial Calabash International Literary Festival say plans are in high gear for its 14th staging.
The festival — which is free and open to the public — is scheduled for Jakes in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, on June 1-3, 2018, under the theme: 'Calabash Lit Up'.
“Plans are shaping up very well. It's always hectic two weeks before any event as large as this, but we have a great team of volunteers and we've been doing this for a while,” Justine Henzell, Calabash co-founder, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
This year's staging will see four female poets laureate: Jamaican Lorna Goodison; Canadian/Acadian Georgette LeBlanc; American Tracy K Smith; and Carol Ann Duffy from the United Kingdom reading from their work. Poet laureate is a national honour that recognises a distinguished poet for his or her significant contribution to the literary community.
Henzell was asked whether the several women's movements emerging worldwide influenced this year's line-up. She said it was mere coincidence.
“We have a very strong female presence this year and it just so happened that we got four female laureates reading on the same day. It wasn't influenced by the movements, but when I realised we had four female laureates I was very thrilled by that,” said Henzell.
The festival kick-starts with writers like Ishion Hutchinson, the current Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize winner; Indian author Thrity Umrigar; The Sopranos actor Michael Imperioli; and British poet Malika Booker. A live concert featuring Etana and Lila Ike is also on the books.
The festival will also continue its open mic segments on June 2 and 3. In addition to the poet laureates, day two will feature David Simon, creator the HBO series The Wire, and his wife Laura Lippman, who has authored 23 books; Warsan Shire, who wrote poems featured on Beyoncé's visual album Lemonade; and MOBO award-winning hip hop artiste Akala, among others. The festival culminates with a tribute to ska trombonist and composer Don Drummond.