Calabash: The Best Literary Festival

Words by Justine Henzell & Photography by Collin Reid

One of the best ways to spend a weekend anywhere in the world is at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Treasure Beach. A small fishing village on Jamaica’s rugged south coast may sound like an odd place for book lovers from around to congregate but that seaside haven is exactly where thousands make a pilgrimage to every other year.

Yes thousands! From all over Jamaica and from all over the world for 3 days and nights of readings and music which are all presented for free. As the organisers say “Passion is the only price of entry”. Started in 2001 by three friends, Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes and Justine Henzell Calabash is now firmly established on the world calendar of literary events and has hosted Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer prize winners, Man Booker Prize winners, MacArthur Genius Award winners and many Poet Laureates from around the world.

The 2018 staging saw four Lady Laureates reading together for the very first time anywhere – Carol Ann Duffy from the UK, Georgette LeBlanc from Canada, Tracy Kay Smith from the USA and Jamaica’s own Lorna Goodison. Readings of poetry, fiction and non-fiction and memoir are all popular as are the in-depth and often hilarious conversations. Open Mic is expertly guided by Professor Carolyn Cooper and the standard is very high – the audience makes sure of that!

The next staging of Calabash will be May 29-31 2020 so make your reservations now! Follow @calabashfest for all updates.


Be sure to check out reviews from authors that attended the event earlier this summer! See link below:

Panache Mag August 2018

Free Digital Edition: https://goo.gl/7P5gG1

Panache Mag August 201847

Panache Mag August 201825Panache Mag August 201826

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