Thursday, 27 May 2010

CALABASH 2010 PREVIEW: ‘The show must go on,’ say organisers

It’s been quite a hectic week here on the Isle of Springs. We have been witnesses (many of us via television) to more violence than we care to see in a lifetime. Owing to the recent series of unfortunate events here in the capital and environs, a large roster of events have been either cancelled or postponed indefinitely, but, thankfully, one of the most highly anticipated happenings on our cultural calendar is not among the casualties.

The 10th anniversary staging of the Calabash International Literary Festival, set for this weekend in Treasure Beach, St. Bess, will go on as scheduled. Hallelujer!!! Even more glorious news: all the authors who are slated to appear have confirmed that they will indeed be here to enthrall us – just as they should. “Yes, they are all coming. Most are here already. Those that are here are currently in Treasure Beach,” said event producer Justine Henzell via telephone on Thursday. “Only one comes in from Barbados tomorrow. The rest arrive today.”

According to Henzell, who runs Calabash annually along with Colin Channer and Kwame Dawes, some of the authors had expressed concern about coming to Jamaica at a time of socio-political unrest. “They were concerned mainly about their personal safety, but we reassured them that Treasure Beach is safe. And they trust us.”

For locals, particularly Corporate Area residents, Channer pointed out that attending Calabash should offer great relief from the tense atmosphere in the capital city. “Calabash is a great reason for getting out of Kingston. After what has happened, people have to de-stress.” Indeed.

Meanwhile, anticipation for another wonderful Calabash staging is high in Treasure Beach, said Henzell. “It’s great. Everything is on schedule. No glitches. Everything is fully ready for another great year.”

The three-day Calabash affair kicks off on Friday night with readings from such authors as Russell Banks. On Saturday, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka (above) will be among the day’s highlights, while a mixture of readings and live music will close off the festival on Sunday evening.

Sidebar: Order your copy of the commemorative anthology So Much Things to Say on

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