The Bocas Literary Festival in Port of Spain draws its distinctive character from the way poetry, storytelling, satire, performance, recitation and masquerade are bound up together in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, and in the lives of the vast diaspora of Caribbean people. The festival is inclusive: even descendants of former colonials, like me, are invited (my grandfather, the cricketer Plum Warner, was born in Trinidad, and I still have cousins there, called Cadiz).
Paraty, midway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, was a place of periodic trade booms in the colonial era, variously dominating Brazil's gold-mining industry, cachaça distilling and (briefly) coffee exports. Since 2002, it has hosted Flip, the Paraty International Literary Festival, modelled on Hay-on-Wye. Once reliant on exports, the city now depends on the import of culture.
In 2010, the Israeli novelist Nir Baram caused a small scandal at the International Writers’ Festival in Jerusalem by daring to point out that 'we are witness to the systematic violation of the rights of non-Jews in the State of Israel and the Occupied Territories.' Festival director Tal Kremer told Haaretz that 'in the end, his speech did no harm,' and she frequently cites it to persuade pro-Palestinian writers to attend. 'I don't think my job is to put up barriers and engage in censorship,' she said. However, 'in light of what happened with Nir Baram' – which she calls 'a production error on our part' – 'we asked this year's authors to give us the text of their speeches' in advance.