Jamaicas Calabash Festival is a Literary Party
The sun is shining, the waves are lapping against the shore, and the crowds are filing into a giant tent for the first sessions of the day at the Calabash International Literary Festival, on Jamaicas low-key southern coast.
Its Saturday morning, and a wonder that people are awake at all many, including writers, were up until the wee hours at the reggae concert next door, which capped the opening nights literary programs. Private tents dot the beach behind the stage, where some festivalgoers have slept.
Jamaicas poet laureate, Olive Senior, stops to embrace old friends at the entrance to the grounds, making plans to catch up soon. Meanwhile, busloads arrive from the capital and other points across the island.
By 10 a.m. more than a thousand people have filled the seats, gazing out at what might be the worlds most breathtaking stage, framed by ocean and blue sky. Margaret Busby, the trailblazing British publisher, begins with a discussion of her anthology New Daughters of Africa, followed by a conversation featuring the regal dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, who, at 70, has just released Time Come, collecting a half-century of his commentary on culture and politics.