New, fresh look for Calabash

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

Friday, March 21, 2014    

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A DIVERSE cast, aimed at attracting a younger audience, has been assembled for the Calabash International Literary Festival.

Dubbed 'Globalishus', the event returns after a one-year break. It takes place May 30-June 1 at Jake's in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth where it was first held in 2001.

India's Rahul Bhattacharya, American JaQuavis Coleman, Jamaica-born pop culture writer Christopher John Farley, rapper/poet/publisher Albert 'Prodigy' Johnson and acclaimed Antiguan author Jamaica Kincaid, are some of the confirmed artistes for 'Calabash 2014'.

"As the theme suggests, we are truly international. For the first time we will have a science fiction component because we want to explore new genres," said festival producer Justine Henzell.

The presence of Prodigy is part of that exploration. A former member of hip hop duo Mobb Deep, the fiction book HNIC is the first release by his Infamous Book company.

In addition to reading from HNIC, Prodigy will be a part of the festival's music package on closing night.

"We're embracing different styles, it's another way to reach a young audience," said Henzell.

Bhattacharya and Coleman are interesting figures. The former was born in Bombay and is strongly influenced by his country's fanatic cricket culture.

Bhattacharya's first book, Pundits From Pakistan, is a cricket travelogue that was voted a Top 10 Cricket Book of All Time by the respected Wisden publication.

Coleman is author of the best-seller, Dopeman's Trilogy. Last year, Ebony magazine named him among its 100 Most Influential African-Americans.

Jamaicans Beverley East and Ann-Margaret Lim; Trinidadian Robert Antoni; and American poet Major Jackson are also part of the Calabash bill.

The Calabash International Literary Festival was first held with Henzell and Jamaican literary figures Colin Channer and Kwame Dawes as principal organisers.

Dawes is the festival's artistic director.





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