| Apr 6, 2023

Calabash is back in 2023

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Promises even more delight

The Caribbean’s biggest and most renown literary festival Calabash is back this year and will take place in Treasury Beach, St Elizabeth from May 26 to May 28.

Organisers Justine Henzell, Deika Morrison and the rest of the team have done a great job of not just serving up a festival for nerdy book lovers but a quixotic amalgam of literature, music, cuisine, rustic charm against a stunning backdrop that is the sea.

Some of the greatest writers have graced Calabash with their presence and even illustrious magazine Vogue has taken note of Calabash’s literary offerings.

This week, an event was held at 10a West Kings House Road to announce this year’s line-up and Our Today got a chance to speak with Justine Henzell as to what to expect this year.

“We are excited to be back after five years. The last Calabash was held in 2018 and we were supposed to be back in 2020 but we had to pause due to the COVID pandemic.

“We are celebrating literature, we are celebrating the daring and diversity that is Calabash. We will be showcasing so many authors and poets from around the world. We are thrilled to be supported by the Treasure Beach community and to support the Treasure Beach community.”

This year’s authors are:

  • Xavier Navarro Aquino
  • Yvonne Bailey-Smith
  • Margaret Busby
  • Maisy Card
  • David Chariandy
  • Staceyann Chin
  • Natalie Diaz
  • Jonathan Escoffery
  • Curdella Forbes
  • Yona Harvey
  • Cathy Park Hong
  • Kevin Jared Hosein
  • Linton Kwesi Johnson
  • Sadie Jones
  • Nicole Krauss
  • Padma Lakshmi
  • Alecia McKenzie
  • Kei Miller
  • Andrew Motion
  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • Ingrid Persaud
  • Jeremy Poynting
  • Roger Robinson
  • Taiye Selasi
  • Olive Senior
  • Namwali Serpell
  • Tom Zoellner

Calabash has over the years attracted some great international authors including Zadie Smith, Salman Rushdie, Derek Walcott, Marlon James and Russell Banks.

Justine Henzell

“This year we have a literary doyenne, in Joyce Carol Oates, who has published over 70 books. This woman is a marvel, she has been on every best seller list you can imagine. She is feisty and controversial. We are excited to have her.

“We have TV star and author, Padma Lakshmi. She has hosted an Emmy-nominated show. The list this year is long and glorious. I ask everybody to go to the Calabash Festival website and check out the schedule,” said Henzell.

One good omen is that accommodation for this year’s Calabash seems to be already booked out, such is the demand.

Henzell continued: “I’m excited that all the room options for Calabash get grabbed up quickly every year we put it on. We are talking from luxury villas to rooms at the back. It’s fantastic. We are doing a room audit right now.” 


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