Calabash breaks 'cover'

BY RORY DALEY Observer writer

Saturday, March 22, 2014

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RENOWNED Jamaican literary festival, Calabash 2014 had its three-day programme unveiled to a receptive crowd at Redbones Café in St Andrew on Thursday.

The bi-annual festival, which is next scheduled for 2016, will run from May 30 to June 1 at its Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth home.

"Nobody would have thought it would have gotten this big," said William Mahfood, managing director of Wisynco Group and ardent fan of the festival.

Now in its 12th staging, Calabash, this year, will feature elements of its theme, Globalishous, a term coined by co-founder and festival director Kwame Dawes. Leading the launch, he pointed out a larger international content with literary luminaries and musicians in attendance from as far as India.

"We have American rapper Prodigy, who has made the transition to author, now publisher with his own imprint Infamous Books," said Dawes.

India's Rahul Bhattacharya, American JaQuavis Coleman, Jamaica-born pop culture writer Christopher John Farley, acclaimed Antiguan author Jamaica Kincaid, Jamaica's Beverly East, Major Jackson out of the United States, Ireland's Paul Muldoon, and Karen Lord from Barbados are some of the confirmed artistes for 'Calabash 2014'. Music will be handled by various bands throughout the weekend culminating in a tribute to Judy Mowatt by the Calabash Acoustic Ensemble, a quartet consisting of Wayne Armond, Ibo Cooper, Steve Golding, and Seretse Small.

Dawes got the proceedings under way, allowing representatives from sponsors CHASE Fund, Caribbean Export Development Agency and Wisynco to take the stage.

"This is a beautiful partnership and a celebration of the power of words," said Pamela Coke Hamilton, executive director for Barbados-based Caribbean Export Development Agency.

Hilary Coulton of CHASE Fund mirrored the thoughts reconfirming her company's association with the festival since 2003. Mahfood made advance apologies for his non-attendance at this year's festival and gave the audience a laugh with a quick read from Absentee Ownership of Cows found in the collection The Annihilation of Fish and Other Stories. Previous attendees of Calabash, Dahlia Harris, and Amina Blackwood-Meeks were also allowed to present their past impressions of the festival.

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