Jamaica’s Calabash International Literary Festival 2021 cancelled

For the second year running, Calabash International Literary Festival has been cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 driven global health crisis. It will now happen on May 27-29, 2022.

The Calabash International Literary Festival, which runs every two years, was founded by novelist Colin Channer, poet Kwame Dawes, and Justine Henzell in 2001. Since its beginning, it has hosted some of the biggest names in world literature including the late Nobel laureate Sir Derek Walcott, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Marlon James, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.

The festival was supposed to happen in May 2020 but had to be moved due to the Covid-19 pandemic which shut down most of the world. The plan was to host it in 2021 when hopefully the effects of this new disease would have been dealt with.

It seems that the festival will not be happening in 2021. In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Justine Henzell states that they are not in a position to run the festival.

“We still can’t at this time. So, Calabash is off for this year. We don’t want to limit audience numbers… that goes against what we would want for the event. And based on where we are with the virus in Jamaica, there is no way the Government is going to give us the go-ahead to have thousands of people congregating at an event,” she says.

The festival sometimes referred to as the “greatest Likkle festival” will now run from May 27-29, 2022. Hopefully, by then all the world will have dealt with the pandemic and people can show up at Treasure Beach and enjoy.

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