Writers from St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana have made the shortlist for the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, sponsored by One Caribbean Media.
From a longlist of ten impressive titles in the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction categories, the prize judges have chosen a shortlist of three books, written by one of the Caribbean’s most esteemed poets, a well-known contemporary novelist, and a distinguished academic-cum-politician. These three books, announced as the winners in their own genre categories, now go on to vie for the overall 2013 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, which comes with a cash award of US$10,000.
The 2013 poetry winner is St. Lucian poet and dramatist Kendel Hippolyte’s Fault Lines, hailed as both lyrical and prophetic, matching spiritual searching with social critique. The judges praised the collection, saying it “demonstrates Hippolyte’s excellent, all-round craftsmanship as a poet. His voice and cadence are unique and distinctive.” The judges add: “This book stands out as a singular achievement.”
Trinidadian novelist Monique Roffey is this year’s fiction category winner, for her novel Archipelago, a story of devastating personal loss that leads to a voyage of discovery. The judges praised the work for its risk-taking, “leaping beyond the boundaries of historical representation, language use, narrative perspective, and narrative form.”
And Guyanese writer and politician Rupert Roopnaraine is the winner in the non-fiction category, for The Sky’s Wild Noise, a wide-ranging collection of essays on art, literature, politics, and society. According to the judges, “in the corpus of non-fiction prose in the Caribbean intellectual tradition, only José Martí and George Lamming rival the range of Roopnaraine’s capacities of response, depth of analysis, and subtle and mordant style.”
The winner of the overall OCM Bocas Prize will be announced on 27 April, as part of the third annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest. The 2012 prize was won by Trinidadian Earl Lovelace for his most novel Is Just a Movie. Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott was winner of the inaugural 2011 prize for his poetry collection White Egrets.
The final cross-genre judging panel will be headed by the celebrated Jamaican writer Olive Senior.