Monday, 24 March 2014

GONE GLOBALISHUS: Calabash Literary Festival nets hefty international star power for 2014 staging

IN THE FRAME: Farley, whose latest effort, Game World, was just released to critical acclaim.

For all the challenges that can come with securing marquee names (read: superbusy literary heavyweights) to fly to Jamaica in May, the organizers of the Calabash International Literary Festival haven't let let that sway them from pursuing and reeling in the big fish for the Treasure Beach fixture. The estimable likes of Wole Soyinka, Michael Ondaatje, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lorna Goodison and Derek` Walcott, to name only a few, have all made memorable appearances at the alluring sea-side hot-spot of Jake's, which now hosts the event every two years.

And this year's catch is certainly no exception, a whale of headliner: Booker Prize winner and easily one of the most controversially popular literary figures of his generation, Salman Rushdie, a novelist of British and Indian heritage. 

Rushdie, whose oeuvre includes modern prize-winning classics like Midnight's Children, will share top billing with a continent-hopping host of significant talents, namely Antigua's Jamaica Kincaid (Annie John, Lucy), Africa's Mukoma was Ngugi, the Dominican Republic's Xiomara Fortuna, JaQuarvis Coleman (the United States), and Jamaica's own Ad-Ziko Simba, Stephanie Saulter and Christopher John Farley, whose new adventure-laced effort, Game World (Akashic Books), was published earlier in the year to critical acclaim. 

Shifted from the traditional Labour Day weekend to the weekend of June 1st, the Calabash Festival (a feast of readings, reasonings, and live music) looks all set to reprise its decade-plus-long dance with devoted fans from everywhere. 

To wit, this year the organizers are running with the clever concept of 'Globalishus', which bears the stark reminder that though Calabash (the biggest likkle festival on Earth) is firmly rooted in the local community, its outlook is consistently international.




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