'It's a day of sad news' — Calabash postponed for fourth time
The Calabash International Literary Festival has been postponed once again due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's a day of sad news from us to our Calabash Family. There will be no Calabash 2022, which is probably not a surprise, though it is a disappointment," Calabash organisers shared in an Instagram post. "We will be back when it is safe to do so and when we can plan properly to welcome you all back to Treasure Beach."
The 2022 staging of the event was scheduled to be held from May 27 – 29.
This is the fourth postponement for the biennial festival, which was last held in 2018.
Calabash was initially slated to be held May 29-30, 2020, under the theme 'For Word'. However, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns and restrictions pushed the festival to later that year, in September.
In June 2020, it was moved to 2021, 20 years after its first staging, only to be postponed and the 2022 dates announced.
The Calabash International Literary Festival was founded in 2001 by novelist Colin Channer, poet Kwame Dawes and producer Justine Henzell. Among the international authors who have taken part in the festival are Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Jamaica Kincaid, Derek Walcott, Junot Diaz, Elizabeth Alexander, Russell Banks, Edwidge Danticat, Caryl Phillips, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Mervyn Morris, Kei Miller, Marlon James, Eleanor Catton, and many others.
Jamaica is currently facing the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic. While the country has no lockdown in place, a gathering limit and ban on parties and events remains in effect, as well as a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. As of January 22, the country has a positivity rate of 53.6 per cent.
While many have opted for virtual events, in 2020 the festival's organisers said a virtual festival would not be an option owing to the tremendous role Calabash plays in the community of Treasure Beach, where it has been held since its inception.