Bonus Material: Jamaica’s Calabash Literary Festival

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Calabash LogoJAMAICA: While many of us were toiling away in the halls of BookExpo America, others were down in Treasure Beach, Jamaica, enjoying the sun (and rain) and being treated to a fantastic line-up of writers at the 9th annual Calabash Literary Festival.

It was all the more sweet, because only a short time ago, it looked like the festival would have to be cancelled after funding dried up as a result of the economic downturn.

Kwame Dawes, novelist and programming director of the Festival, documented the emotional turmoil that went with the debate of whether or not to continue: “Calabash, has, over the years, defied expectations and has become for many, something of an anthem for possibility,” he wrote on the blog linked to below. “In a sense, for Calabash to fail, a sense of faith would be damaged, and perhaps another opportunity for cynicism could set in. There was the feeling of obligation to make it happen”

And so it did, drawing hundreds to plastic chairs on the beach were they listened to writers such as Junot Diaz, Patrick French, Joseph Boyden and Pico Iyer.

Asked by an interviewer to pick a single word to sum up this year’s festival, he said “Grace.”

READ: Kwame Dawes’ dispatches.

MORE: The Telegraph newspaper provides an anecdotal account.

EVEN MORE: The Active Voice blog offers a passionate recollection.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.