This week’s tour takes in Caribbean beaches, the land of the thunder dragon and some 113th birthday celebrations, but still manages to keep up with what’s hot on Twitter. If you wanted to find out which festivals you’ve just missed, you’re in the right place.
Where else could I possibly begin? (Well, last week it was the Democratic Republic of Congo, but we’ll forget that for now.) Both Bangladesh and India are getting strangely excited about the 113th ‘birth anniversary’ of Bangladesh’s national poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam. A three-day celebration featured ‘discussions, music, recitations and dance’, according to The Daily Star. Other writers born in 1899 include Nabokov and Hemingway: why not mark the occasion(s) by catching a polyommatus blue butterfly or a 1500-pound marlin?
Until the 1960s, Bhutan had no roads; until 1999, it had no TV; until 2010, it had no literary festivals. ‘Mountain Echoes’, the latest example of Bhutan’s slide towards Western-style decadence (once the literary festival arrives, wet T-shirt club nights DJed by David Guetta can’t be far away), was held for the third time recently. The main topic of debate was Bhutan’s literary language: with younger authors favouring English, there are fears that ‘literary activity in Dzongkha has been declining.’
The Calabash Literary Festival is celebrating 50 years of Jamaican independence, with guests including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Carolyn Forché and Fred D’Aguiar. This being Jamaica, the opening day kicked off with four writers ‘rapping about reggae’ and ended with a ‘Midnight Ravers’ session headlined by No-Maddz and Raging Fyah. ‘Grandmothers in flowing gowns dance with girls in busty T-shirts, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka toasts the crowd with a glass of Red Stripe…’ Hard to imagine The Telegraph sponsoring this one.
Jennifer Egan is making sure she stays in the headlines by offering her (very) short story, Black Box, one Tweet at a time. Anyone who hasn’t yet jumped on the Twitter bandwagon still has time to cling desperately to a wheel as it hurtles down the slippery slope towards complete inanity: log on nightly at 8pm EST to read enthralling sentences such as ‘It is technically impossible for a man to look better in a Speedo than in swim trunks.’