Kwame Dawes
Co-Founder, Artistic Director

Justine Henzell
Co-Founder, Producer

Colin Channer
Co-Founder and former Artistic Director

Contact Us

The Calabash International Literary Festival Trust
2a Bamboo Avenue #4
Kingston 6
Jamaica, W.I.

About Us

The Calabash International Literary Festival was founded in 2001 by three Jamaicans: the novelist Colin Channer, the poet Kwame Dawes and the producer Justine Henzell. Their aim was simple—to create a world-class literary festival with roots in Jamaica and branches reaching out into the wider world.

A three-day festival of readings and music with other forms of storytelling folded in the mix, Calabash is earthy, inspirational, daring and diverse. After 10 successive years, 2001-2010, Calabash was then staged on a biennial basis on even years, until 2018. The 2020 & 2022 festivals were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic so the festival returned in 2023 for its 15th staging. It will now continue to be held biennially on the odd years.

All festival events are free and open to the public. Passion is the only price of entry. But voluntary contributions are welcomed.

The festival is produced by the Calabash International Literary Festival Trust (the Trust), which also produces publishing seminars and writing workshops. The Trust is affiliated with the Friends of the Calabash International Literary Festival, a registered 501(c)(3) corporation in the United States.