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Saturday, 26 May 2007

Saturday morning at Calabash

Calabash Literary Festival 2007

Colin Channer, D.Y. Bechard, Maxine Case, and Andrew O'Connor after this morning's Q&A session

The trouble with a programme as packed as Calabash's is that, unless you give up on eating or sleeping, you just can't take everything in. I was late for the first set of readings this morning, because I was devouring a huge breakfast at Lyric, the house near Jake's where we're staying. So I missed the first half of D.Y. Bechard's reading and never managed to pick up the plot--but I caught all of Maxine Case and Andrew O'Connor. (These are three of the four finalists for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best first book.)

After the readings, all three writers returned to the stage with Calabash co-founder Colin Channer for a Q&A session. "What surprised you most about Jamaica?" Colin asked. "How bright everything is!" (Case). "The pace of life here!" (O'Connor). "How friendly everyone is!" (Bechard). Well, I suppose that's the thing about clich├ęs--there's always a grain of truth to them....

I'm now back at Lyric, sitting out the midday Calabash session, which features the American actor Mike Farrell. I'm about to take a swim, then I'll head over for the first open mike session, always a Calabash highlight, I'm told. I'll take my PowerBook with me and try out the wi-fi network at Jack Sprat. Check back later for more. And for Calabash photos, mostly by Georgia Popplewell but including a few of my own, check this Flickr tag page.

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