This is just a listing – some of these I’ve been to, some not; just sharing all the ones of which I’m aware. You can also read my round-up of Caribbean literary festivals – published January 2016 in Writers’ Digest – here.
Anguilla – The Anguilla Lit Fest – a Literary Jollification was held for the first time in May 2012 and attracted none less than bestselling author Terry McMillan and Antigua and Barbuda’s own Marie Elena John. Here are some pictures and links from my participation in 2015.
Antigua and Barbuda – The Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival started in November 2006 – Here’s a post I did about the first year of the festival – but has been on hiatus for several years.
Barbados – Bim Literary Festival and Book Fair, held in May, first took place in 2012. Visit their website for updates. Here are some images and memories I shared from my participation in the BIM Lit Fest in 2016.
Cayman Islands – Gimistory is the Cayman Islands International Storytelling Festival; read more on it here.
Cuba – The Havana International Book Fair is typically held in February. Here’s a BBC Review
Dominica – The Nature Island Literary Festival was started by Alwyn Bully in 2007. It’s held each August. I had the opportunity to attend in 2012 and wrote this. Check their facebook or festival website for updates.
Guadeloupe – Congress of Caribbean Writers is held in April. I participated and blogged about it in 2013. Like Bocas, there is a literary prize attached.
Jamaica – The Calabash International Literary Festival at Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth was started in 2001. I was part of a group of Antiguan and Barbudan writers that attended the May festival in 2007 with backing from the Commonwealth Foundation and the mood of the event was appreciated by us all. I shared the experience here.
NPR review & Guardian UK review
It should be noted as well that Jamaica has several other festivals such as the International Storytelling Conference and Festival, the Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta, and the Kingston Book Festival – the latter, a project of the Book Industry Association of Jamaica, is held in March. Check their website and facebook for updates.
Montserrat – Alliougana Festival of the Word dates back to 2009. November. Check their website and facebook for updates.
New York – I intended to limit this to festivals taking place in the Caribbean…buuut the Caribbean Cultural Theatre Celebration of the Word rates a mention as does their running series of readings by authors from the region. Here’s its facebook page.
St. Martin/Sint Maarten – St. Martin Book Fair is a project of the Conscious Lyrics Foundation and the House of Nehesi Publishers. I participated in this event in 2014 and shared some images here. See their website and facebook for updates.
St. Lucia – In St. Lucia, there are a couple of things – Nobel Laureate Week, which given that the star attraction is the country’s Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, counts as a literary event and the WordAlive Literary Festival (Adrian Augier on WordAlive).
Trinidad and Tobago – The Bocas Literary Festival, started in 2011, has a major literary prize and a grant for emerging writers attached. In addition to the main festival, there are a couple of regional satellite festivals in other parts of the country including sister island Tobago. Check their website and facebook for updates.
Bocas Review by Annie Paul and my experience here.
V I Literary Festival – The Festival has been held every year since 2015, the year I attended, at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Beyond the Caribbean – there are, of course, many, many festivals beyond the Caribbean; this link points to some of the ones in the North American area, and specifically the ones with a strong, though not exclusive, African-American fan base – such as the Brooklyn Book Fair which I attended in 2015.
You can see others that I have participated in here and, of course, when it comes to searching for festivals in your area, google is your friend.
If there’s a Caribbean festival that you feel has been overlooked, please send me the information at email@example.com …but be polite, no oversights are intentional.
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com,except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, and forthcoming With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.