International Literary Festival, August 11, 2018

  • “The goodwill, support and generosity that the idea of this event has generated since July 2014 has been phenomenal.”

    Mike Jarrett, Founder/Director, Palaver International Literary Festival
  • “… come and experience the tastes, sights and sounds of Palaver and the beautiful shores of Georgian Bay…”

    Brian Smith, Mayor of Wasaga Beach
  • “The success of any venture must comes with passion, persistence and partnership. We know the future of this festival is secure, for that very reason.”

    Jerrold Johnson, Chief Repr. Officer for JNBS TRO
  • “PALAVER reflects and represents the essential elements of Canada’s social policy of multiculturalism.”

    Ewart Walters, Author
  • “For visitors planning a weekend to Wasaga Beach to enjoy Palaver, please keep in mind that there are a variety of accommodation, dining and shopping opportunities …”

    Brian Smith, Mayor of Wasaga Beach
Designed - Developed by Maria Papaefstathiou


SATURDAY, August 12, 2017

Registration for Palaver 2017 events* is open!

  • Registration fee* : $10


  • Palaver Writers Workshops* : $20
  • Palaver Rock Steady Party : $20

Registration is waived for children and adolescents 15 years old and younger.*

Palaver, 2016

  • Storyteller Bruce Carmody

  • Poet Lorna Goodison

  • Poet Blakka Ellis

  • Palaver Awards – Lorna Goodison

  • Palaver Awards – Dwayne Morgan

  • Palaver Awards – Heritage Singers

  • Palaver Awards – Heritage Singers

  • Mike Jarrett

  • Brunch buffet 2

  • Brunch buffet

  • The audience

  • The audience

  • The Audience

  • Photo 1

The Inaugural, 2015

  • Opening

  • Olive Senior

  • Mike Jarrett

  • Mayor Brian Smith

  • Rachel Manley

  • Presenting Olive Lewin portrait

  • Chocolates and fine gifts from TIFIDIN

  • Jamaica National TRO, main sponsor

  • Jamaica National TRO, main sponsor

  • Ewart Walters

  • Pamela Mordecai presents a copy of her Red Jacket to Jackie Beaudin

  • Dr. Rita Cox

  • Jamaica’s Consul General in Ontario, Lloyd Wilks

  • Gary Cerantola, Chair of the Wasaga Film Festival and Chair of the Wasaga Society for the Arts.


  • Cynthia Lewis

  • Carlos Malcolm

  • Visitors

  • Ann and Alrica

  • Pamela Mordecai and Rachel Manley




  • Dr. Rita Cox

  • Palaver 2015




  • Audience





  • Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis at Palaver 2015

  • Dwayne Morgan at Palaver 2015

  • Palaver collaborates with Wasaga Beach Public Library.


The Genesis, 2014

  • The Genesis

  • The Genesis

  • The Genesis

  • The Genesis

  • The Genesis

  • The Genesis

  • The Genesis

  • The Genesis

Wasaga Beach

  • Wasaga Beach

  • Wasaga Beach

  • Wasaga Beach

  • Wasaga Beach



The Caribbean is unique for the diversity and vibrancy of the many cultures to be found in the region. The perimeter lands of the Caribbean Sea have cradled a diaspora of world cultures and nationalities for more than 500 years. Retentions in art, literature, music and religion have been woven by time into an enchanting tapestry of colour, sound, ethnicity and shared experiences.
Its unique blends of styles, cultures and ethnicity are described eloquently by generations of gifted and celebrated lyricists and essayists; storytellers and novelists, writing in English or Spanish; French or Dutch, each writer a product of this enchanting tropical potpourri that has produced over time some of the world’s finest artists and artisans, athletes and scientists, liberators and statesmen.
Palaver celebrates this exciting and vibrant Caribbean cultural mix and offers each year, in a morsel, a mere taste of its richness and tantalizing flavours.

The word palaver dates back to the 18th Century and evidence of a common meaning is to be found in several European languages. The word is generally associated with talk or discussion between individuals or within a group. In some definitions meaning favours light or inconsequential talk. In others it describes more serious discourse such as negotiation or a quest for valuable or necessary information.

We palaver because everything is important once deemed so to be. We decide what to us is important.
­ M.S.L.Jarrett.


Jamaica National

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Palaver News, 2016

Palaver News, 2015

  • Palaver is born

    … new festival celebrates Caribbean literature, music, cuisine The province of Ontario last year saw the birth of a new…

  • Rita M. Cox, D. Litt.C.M.

    Rita M. Cox, D. Litt.C.M.

    Story-teller par excellence for inaugural Palaver literary festival Known internationally as a gifted story-teller, Rita Cox is an educator, activist,…

  • Most gifted chef for Palaver 2015

    Most gifted chef for Palaver 2015 … to present sumptuous theme-brunch Aromas from the Great House Chef Selwyn Richard brings…

  • Ewart Walters

    Ewart Walters confirms participation in the inaugural Palaver International Literary Festival Even before Ewart Walters’ last book came off the…

  • Ernie Smith for Palaver Sing-along

    Ernie Smith has confirmed his participation at the inaugural Palaver International Literary Festival, August 8 and 9, in Wasaga Beach,…

  • Pamela Mordecai

    Pamela Mordecai confirms participation at Palaver 2015 After working on the publication of some twenty textbooks, producing five collections of poetry, five children’s books, an anthology…

  • Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis

    Owen Ellis confirms appearance at Palaver 2015 … to present Riddim & Riddles 2015 April 11: As Jamaica approached that…

  • Olive Senior

    Author of The Pain Tree and Dying to Better Themselves confirms attendance Palaver 2015 2015 April 10: The Pain Tree,…

  • Pamela Appelt, O.D.


    Pamela Appelt, O.D, now retired, served 11 years on the bench as Judge of the Court of Canadian Citizenship and made history as the first African-Canadian woman to hold this position. Born in St. Mary Jamaica, Dr. Appelt studied microbiology and biochemistry in London, England before coming to Canada in 1966 to work as a researcher in medical biochemistry at McGill. Her academic achievements are many including a masters degree in Public Policy.

    She has served on the Board of Directors of corporate and benevolent organizations, including United Way of Greater Toronto and was Co-Chair of Canada’s Jamaica-50 Celebrations. She is Vice president of Toronto’s Harbour Front Centre, the largest contemporary art centre in Canada, catering to 17 million visitors every year; with a 3,000 sq. ft. space dedicated to preserving the work and legacy of Jamaican cultural icon, the late Honourable Louise Bennett, popularly known across the British Caribbean as ‘Miss Lou’.

    A great friend of Miss Lou, who entrusted to her the duties of executor of her estate, Pamela Appelt is an accomplished artist and her paintings have been exhibited in New York, Chicago and in Canada and Jamaica. As a patron of Palaver, Dr. Appelt has helped to guide the process of establishing what is expected to become, over time, Canada’s largest literary festival.

    Copyright © M.S.L. JARRETT 2015-04-18

  • Mike Jarrett

    Founder, ­ Director

    A writer and journalist for more than 40 years, Michael S. L. Jarrett is founder of the Palaver International Literary Festival. The premiere edition of his book, All In The Same Boat was published in November 2014. He is founder and editor of two international business magazines on the maritime industry and has been editor of a number of publications including an in­flight magazine for an international commercial airline. A graduate of the Mico University College in Jamaica, Mike holds a diploma in advanced journalism (print) from the International Institute for Journalism in Berlin, Germany. He holds national awards in public relations and a gold medal for amateur photography.

    A special events planner with a long history of successful international initiatives, Mike was instrumental in developing concepts and a methodology for delivering the “No Fixed Address” public awareness initiative of the Interclinic Public Housing Workgroup (a team of legal clinic workers in Toronto, funded by Legal Aid Ontario) for the improvement of public housing in Toronto.

    Copyright © M.S.L. JARRETT 2015-04-18

  • Maria Papaefstathiou

    Graphic Designer

    The many compliments and remarks of admiration about the designs which package the Palaver messages – the logo, this website and the promotional poster for the inaugural festival in 2015, and the posters portrait-awards – all celebrate the work of Maria Papaefstathiou.

    Maria, graphic designer and illustrator, lives and works in Athens, Greece. A book designer at publishing house, Stamoulis Publications S.A. (, Maria has an impressive portfolio of exquisite artistic statements. She is from Greece but her artistic perspectives prove her to be a citizen of the world. Co-founder of the increasingly popular global event, the International Reggae Poster Contest, partnering with the great Jamaican artist and creative activist Michael Thompson, a.k.a. Freestylee, Maria has herself created some stunning poster designs. Her posters of notable Jamaican jazz pianist, Monty Alexander and, more recently, of Jamaican musician and legendary orchestra leader Carlos Malcolm set her apart.

    She has participated and won awards in a number of international competitions. Her designs have been mounted in group exhibitions in South Korea, Jamaica, Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece, Mexico, Washington D.C., Spain, Turkey, Poland; and, her poster of Nelson Mandela was exhibited in South Africa in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Her 2014 poster for the Jamaican Fencing Federation, to assist the fund-raising efforts of that organization, is also special. As Mike Jarrett described it then: “Dramatic yet subtle, action-filled yet uncluttered.”

    Maria’s special talent and her understanding of Caribbean cultural expression make her a valued member of the team of the Palaver International Literary Festival.
    Poster Shop:

    Copyright © M.S.L. JARRETT 2015-04-18

  • Michael Patrick Jarrett

    Audio Engineer

    With more than 15 years professional experience in audio recording and a Recording Arts degree from Full Sail University in Orlando Florida, Michael Patrick Jarrett brings solid real world experience to Palaver. Prior to pursuing the Associate of Science Degree programme at Full Sail, Factor (as he is popularly known) worked at the famous Tuff Gong studios in Kingston, Jamaica. For more than a decade, Michael’s recording sessions at the famous Renaissance Recording Studio in Kingston, with some of the leading artistes in popular music, have produced several local and international hit singles and albums for chart toppers including Sean Paul. His work has been recognized by the Jamaican and international music community including ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). ASCAP .recognized one of his recordings “We Be Burnin” by Sean Paul at its 32nd annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards on April 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
    Michael brings the highest level of audio recording professionalism to the Palaver International Literary Festival.

    Copyright © M.S.L. JARRETT 2015-04-18

  • Jason Jarrett

    Director of Photography

    Jason Jarrett is Director of Photography for the Palaver International Literary Festival. A graduate in Broadcasting and Film (Centennial College) he has broad experience in both still and moving images and in live television broadcasting (CTV). Jason leads the team of photographers and videographers capturing images at Palaver.

    Copyright © M.S.L. JARRETT 2015-04-18

    Jason Jarrett

    Jason Jarrett

    Jason Jarrett

  • Nick Caruso

    Site & Services Manager

    Nick Caruso, head of TCP Management has performed to role of Palaver Site and Services manager since the inaugural event in 2015. His role has been supervision of the set-up, operations (including electricity generation), pull-down and clean-up of the beach site venue of the Palaver festival at Wasaga Beach Area 4, a task he and his team have effectively performed year after year. Indeed, Palaver has gained accolades from Ontario Parks for the pristine condition in which the festival site is left at the end of the event.

    TCP Management is a property management company in Southern Georgian Bay. Under Nick Caruso’s leadership, it carries caretaker responsibility for a number of private properties in the region. The total value of properties in TCP Management’s year-round care runs into several millions of dollars. The fact that so many owners entrust their properties, large and small, to the care of Nick Caruso is testimony to the effectiveness, dependability and experience of TCP Management.

    A loyal friend of the Palaver International Literary Festival and a valuable member of the Palaver team, Nick Caruso and his crew have freely volunteered time and energy to seeing that this annual Wasaga Beach event is effectively presented and that patrons are comfortable.


Saturday August 12, 2017
Wasaga Beach Area 4

… this feast and bounty have only served to stoke the appetite

Talented writers, essayists and lyricists who trace their heritage to the Caribbean have given so much for which to be thankful. But this continuing feast of ideas and emotions has only served to stoke the appetite, nurturing and enriching soul and spirit; exposing or clarifying social constructs; keeping us honest and focussed. For such is the nature of literature and the mission of writers.
Poems and novels by Caribbean writers are perennially nominated for the book prizes all over the world. In this regard, authors in the Caribbean diaspora have earned global success and respect, winning over time most of the major prizes in world literature. In so doing, Caribbean authors have made a tremendous contribution to world literature.

In its first two annual events in Wasaga Beach, Ontario, the still fledgling Palaver International Literary Festival has showcased the creative talents of a number of published Caribbean writers, including: Olive Senior, Owen Everard James, Pamela Mordecai, Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis, Horane Smith, Cynthia Reyes, Lorna Goodison, Ewart Walters, Rachel Manley, Fred Kennedy, Dwayne Morgan, Garfield Ellis. Their books and poems have inspired, entertained and enlightened readers all over the world. Their works are collectively more valuable than the time, effort and sacrifice it took to research, compile, write and publish. Their true value as writers is not to be found in the many accolades and awards won, although these may be used as a measure of the respect they have garnered across national boundaries. Our authors are important because together they define, describe and explore for posterity our world and time; our humanity and aspirations; our failures and accomplishments; our life and complications. Their works, like milestones, have marked our journey through history.

By these books and their patient, long-suffering authors, to whom is owed an unqualified gratitude, we are made immortal.
Palaver provides a platform for these earnest writers with the hope and expectation that their works will build bridges, facilitate understanding and inspire generations to come.


Books and Authors 2017

This year Palaver will again present talented and celebrated authors who will personally share their work and experiences. They will be signing copies of their books and will engage with readers personally throughout the event.
The final list of participating writers will be posted on this page.

Authors 2016

Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis
Dwayne Morgan
Horane Smith
Owen Everard James
Cynthia Reyes
Lorna Goodison
Fred Kennedy
Garfield Ellis

Authors 2015

Dwayne Morgan
Ewart Walters
Olive Senior
Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis
Pamela Mordecai
Rachel Manley

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The second annual Palaver International Literary Festival in August 2016 acknowledged the work and accomplishments of four outstanding individuals Hon. Dr. Louise Bennett-Coverley, OM, OJ, MBE, (a.k.a. Miss Lou) (poems and verse), Mr. Carlos Malcolm, (music composition and arranging), Dr. Rita Cox (storytelling) and Dwayne Morgan (poetry).

At the first Palaver Awards Dinner, held at the RecPlex in Wasaga Beach on August 6, 2016, awards were presented by Dr. Pamela Appelt, patron of Palaver, to three of the four recipients. Dr. Rita Cox was unavoidably absent.

In announcing the awards, the MC, Mrs. Keisha Johnson noted the unique contribution by each of the recipients and their individual roles in building, preserving, energising and empowering.
The mementoes presented were original works of art by Maria Papaefstathiou.

In its inaugural year 2015, Palaver acknowledged and applauded the pioneering work of the late Dr. the Honourable Olive Lewin, musicologist, social anthropologist, author and teacher; and, in particular her monumental research and documentation of Jamaican Folk Music and the establishment of the Jamaican (folk) memory bank.


Palaver International Literary Festival

at its inauguration on
August 8, 2015,
celebrated the work and accomplishments of

Dr. the Hon. Olive Lewin,

musicologist, social anthropologist, teacher and author
1927 – 2013
Born in Jamaica
* for her research and rescue of Jamaican folk music;
* for defending the integrity of a rich musical tradition;
* for her pioneering role in establishing the Jamaica Memory Bank1.

1. The Jamaica Memory Bank programme documents Jamaica’s social history using audio-visual recordings of the recollections of citizens throughout the country. The interviews are catalogued and transcribed, creating an archive of oral history on aspects of Jamaica’s culture..


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Ancient art of storytelling alive and well
Traditions of storytelling date back thousands of years. It is as old as language itself. By this social medium, traditions and history have been preserved, handed down from generation to generation across centuries, long before Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press radically changed the volume, flow and dissemination of information.
The storyteller kept history alive. And, whether the tales were spun in jest by thespians to amuse the royal court or, otherwise, presented as lyrics by traveling troubadours, they held audiences engaged and entertained.
Stories – fact, fiction or myth – define a people. Submerged or interwoven in comedy or tragedy, stories describe the hopes and fears; the standards and mores of a people. Each story, like a beam of light, illuminates and reveals that which a thousand words could hardly describe – the culture and ways of civil society.
Palaver acknowledges the important historical role of storytelling and each year seeks to gather and present storytellers and their stories as a cultural experience.

Storytelling takes the audience to a different place, to live the moment and to sense the emotions of characters, real or fiction; to place of empathy.
Storytelling is itself a process of sharing. And the storyteller, in the moment, brings the audience into the process, to share recollections and emotions with the group. The participants, individually and collectively, share a common experience of empathy with characters. They laugh at the trickery of Bre’r Anancy and anger over that which forced lovers to dash themselves to suicide over the Jamaican cliffs at Lovers’ Leap.
Palaver accepts that storytelling is an experience where that which is invaluable is carefully passed from generation to generation. It is an experience to be shared, even in reverence.
Palaver 2017 presents some great stories on Saturday August 12, – 5.00 pm, at Wasaga Beach Area 4.





AUGUST 11, 2018 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
• Call of the Drums
• OPEN MIC: Poetry/Music
• Poems and Poets
• Ol’ Time Stories
• Books and authors
• Writers workshops
• Exotic Cuisine – authentic Caribbean fare
• Children’s activities
• Book signings

Details about presenters and works to be presented, children activities, appearances and book signings will be posted to this page shortly.




The words of poets over centuries untold, preserve for posterity the moods and emotion, harmony and commotion, indeed all that have come to define our complex world.
Palaver looks to the poets: the purging fire of biting satire, crisp and precise, haunting, taunting, encouraging, cajoling, inspiring generations with word images and ideas. Theirs is a lifelong mission to document and present the truths and subtleties, inconsistencies and paradoxes, the struggles, setbacks, obstacles and triumphs that helped to form and shape our history. Artistes daring to bare their souls to awaken our consciousness, our poets offer us a lens with which to see a reality beyond our own confining horizons; to have us think; to create empathy and build bridges of understanding.
Wasaga Beach, with its gorgeous natural backdrop presents an ideal setting and perfect ambiance to enjoy poetry and poets, their thoughts and emotions.
Palaver International Literary Festival presents each year a slate of contemporary poets and spoken word artists.

Palaver International Literary Festival
August 12, 2017,
Starting at 10.00 a.m.
Wasaga Beach Area 4


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Palaver’s aromas

“When Europeans arrived in the Caribbean in late 15th century, they found some of the larger Caribbean islands inhabited by an agrarian people. Those people were not allowed to last long enough for the survival of their culture. However the Europeans did record that they farmed cassava and made a flat cassava bread. Jamaicans still make and consume a flat cassava bread. Known for centuries as ‘bammy’, it’s a natural partner with fish, steamed or fried, to be consumed in bliss under the shade of a spreading seagrape, on an idyllic Caribbean beach somewhere. Cassava is one of the few food crops to have survived 5 centuries of European occupation.
“European presence in the Caribbean was largely about the plantation. The national economies were sustained by large plantations worked by forced labour. The slaves brought to the fireside sub-Saharan methods and the organic root crops they managed to cultivate on their tiny plots to make a delight of the protein stock – salted cod, pickled mackerel, red herring and pigtail – imported from Europe and Canada. Subsequently, Indian and Chinese immigrants enriched the mix with their own ancient culinary traditions and spices. The aromas of the Caribbean are unique for this rich mix of cultures over centuries.” [Mike Jarrett]


Caribbean style

The maroons, roaming free in the mountains of Jamaica since the mid-17th century hunted wild boar and roasted the succulent, lean carcass on smouldering wood from the aromatic pimento, creating a style and flavour that was later to become known globally as ‘jerk’, Jamaica’s 20th century gift to the culinary world.
Meanwhile, in the western and southern Caribbean, preparations like pelau (an iconic Trinidadian one-pot meal), mouth-watering rotis and scores of delightful recipes for preparing different species of fish emerged and, refined, remained .
The spicy flavours and aromatic concoctions which today characterise Caribbean fare evolved over 500 years and have come to define the tropical Americas as a gastronomic paradise.

city tv

Authentic Caribbean cuisine

Often imitated authentic Caribbean flavours are difficult to duplicate. Some say the secret is in the ingredients. Others say the secret is in the method of the cook. The secrets are many, some passed down within families for generations. Authentic Caribbean cuisine with all its delicate nuances, spicy succulence and fresh tropical juices, prepared and presented by leading chefs at the highest culinary standards, are collectively an annual feature of Palaver.


Most gifted chef for Palaver 2015. Read about here


bammy and jerk

achee and smoked salmon

Toronto Star

pork roast

veg dislay

roast beef

breakfast egg bene

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