[This article was originally published in The Jamaica Sunday Observer. This online version has been slightly amended from the original article.]
As the Calabash Writer’s Workshops for 2006-07 are launched, ‘Bookends’ writer Sarala Estruch investigates the scene for writers in Jamaica with some help from Colin Channer – novelist and founder of the Calabash International Literary Festival Trust.
Re-organizing my bookshelf the other day I was struck by a curious fact – the mahogany shelves were lined with row upon row of American and British authors but there were only a spattering of Jamaican authors in its midst. Right next to the bookshelf, however, stood my towering CD rack, brimming with Caribbean – and notably Jamaican – artists screaming out at me in bright colours. It dawned on me that, while only a small island, Jamaica has exerted – and continues to exert – significant influence on the global arena. For such a small country, Jamaica’s international reputation for music, dance, sports, food, and landscape is astonishing. However, on the literary stage, Jamaica’s traditionally resonant voice has been far more muted.