The Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica, an annual event that features readings, music and other forms of storytelling, received the Madam CJ Walker Award for its dedication to supporting and sustaining the Black Literature of the Hurston / Wright Foundation. The festival has been described as “earthy, inspiring, daring + diverse! “
The award will be presented at the 20th Annual Zora Neale Hurston / Richard Wright Legacy Awards on October 15, 2021. The foundation’s goals are to help writers produce high quality literature, preserve the voice of black writers, to create a community of writers and to provide financial assistance to emerging writers. The foundation believes that for black literature to thrive, there must be a society that values black narratives, and to that end, it sponsors author conferences, literary fairs, and workshops.
The 2021 event will be hosted by journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones. Three awards of excellence will also be presented to writers chosen for their achievements throughout their careers and their role in inspiring the writing community.
The Calabash International Literary Festival takes place over three days every two years in even years in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. It was founded in 2001 by novelist Colin Channer, poet Kwame Dawes and producer Justine Henzell. Its international content expanded in 2014 with the inclusion of many prominent literary figures and musicians. In 2016, the festival was described as affirming the movement towards a vision that started out as modest ambition, but hopeful and ‘giddy’. “
It is recognized as a world class literary event. Over the years, the festival has hosted Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Jamaica Kincaid, Colum McCann, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, Junot Diaz, Michael Ondaatje, Elizabeth Alexander, Russell Banks, Edwidge Danticat, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Caryl Phillips, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Chigozie Obioma, Tishani Doshi, Mervyn Morris, Kei Miller, Marlon James, Eleanor Catton and many more.
After receiving the award, Calabash posted: “We are truly honored to receive this award from @HurstonWright from our home in Treasure Beach 🇯🇲 Jamaica.” Justine Henzell, a festival organizer also took to Twitter, writing: “Wow, this is such an incredible honor! Thank you @HurstonWright, we are touched. When passion meets the goal, amazing things happen! “
Photos – Literary Calabash Festival in Jamaica Facebook