SWEET FELLOWSHIP: Semaj greets former tourism minister Aloun Assamba.
He’s a successful and prominent psychologist and the brains behind The Job Bank, but Dr. Leahcim Semaj is also an unabashed lover of the literary and spoken word. Here, the good doctor speaks on the upcoming Asante Adonai Literary Lyme, of which he is a co-founder.
What’s the story behind the name chosen for the event?
The first part, Asante, means ‘Thank you’ in Swahili while ‘Adonai’ is an unspoken name for God. So the name actually means ‘Thank You, God.’ When my son first arrived at the property where we are hosting the event, the first words out of his mouth were ‘Thank you, God.’ That’s where the idea initially came from.
The location is a 57-acre property at Winefield, St. Ann. Why that area?
It’s an organic farm, and it’s our property. We wanted to create a space for events like these and other life-giving activities. So the plan is to host a new event there every three months. Also, one of the things that Calabash offered was the opportunity to leave Kingston for a country vibe, and that’s what [Asante Adonai] is also offering.
Are any international authors appearing at the fest this year?
This year, it’s all Jamaican. Next year, it will be a different thing. For this literary event our focus will be Jamaica and the region. We have so many talented writers here, and we need to give them the exposure.
Keeping the spirit of Calabash alive:
Semaj has stated that while "this [lyme] will not replace the original Calabash, [it] will go a long way to continue the enjoyable therapy provided by immersion in the world of books, writers and readers."
* Report from launch of Asante Adonai Literary Lyme
* Jean Lowrie-Chin recalls the great Claude McKay