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Authors  //  2014 Festival Authors

The 2014 NGC Bocas Lit Fest includes a line-up of over 70 writers, speakers, and performers. 

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James Christopher Aboud

2014 OCM Bocas Prize Judge

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James Christopher Aboud has published two volumes of poems, The Stone Rose and Lagahoo Poems. In 1995 he won the James Rodway Prize for Poetry awarded by Derek Walcott’s Rat Island Foundation. He was appointed a Trinidad and Tobago High Court judge in 2010.

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John Agard

Writer

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John Agard is a Guyanese playwright, poet, and children’s writer based in Britain. In 1993 he was appointed Writer in Residence at the South Bank Centre, London, and became Poet in Residence at the BBC in London. His book Man Pan won the Casa de las Americas Award in 1982 and in 2012 he was selected for the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. His most recent book is the poetry collection Travel Light Travel Dark.

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Lauren K. Alleyne

Poet

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Lauren K. Alleyne is a Trinidadian poet who is currently poet-in-residence and Assistant Professor of English at the University of Dubuque. Difficult Fruit is her début collection.

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Robert Antoni

Writer

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Robert Antoni was born in the US of Trinidadian parents and grew up in the Bahamas. His most recent novel, Carnival, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. He currently teaches fiction writing at Columbia University, New York. His most recent novel, As Flies to Whatless Boys, is the fiction winner of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize.

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Gaiutra Bahadur

Writer

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Gaiutra Bahadur is a Guyanese-American journalist and book critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, Ms., and the Nation, amongst other publications. Her book Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture is longlisted for the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize.

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Kevin Baldeosingh

Writer

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Kevin Baldeosingh is a Trinidadian newspaper columnist, author and co-founder and chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Humanist Association. Aside from his journalistic work he has published numerous short stories, three novels, and a play, The Comedian, which was one of the four winners of the National Drama Association’s playwriting contest. In 2000 and 2001 he was regional Chairperson for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Canada/Caribbean). He now works with the Trinidad Express as a writer on a freelance basis. His latest novel is The Ten Incarnations of Adam Avatar.

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Gerard Besson

Publisher

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Gerard Besson is a Trinidadian historian, writer, and founder of Paria Publishing. In 2007 he was awarded the Hummingbird Gold Medal for Heritage Preservation and Promotion and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Heritage Preservation from the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. He has authored numerous books on Trinidadian history and culture. His latest novel is From the Gates of Aksum.

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Rhoda Bharath

Writer

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Rhoda Bharath is a fiction writer and a cultural studies researcher at UWI, St. Augustine, where she also lectures in African literature.

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Angelo Bissessarsingh

Historian

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Angelo Bissessarsingh is a historian from Siparia,Trinidad. He is the founder of the Virtual Museum of Trinidad and Tobago heritage resource, and writes a column titled “Back in Time” for the Trinidad Guardian.

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Neil Bissoondath

2014 OCM Bocas Prize Judge

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Neil Bissoondath is a Trinidadian writer based in Canada where he now teaches Creative Writing at Université Laval. In 1986 he won the McClelland and Stewart award and the National Magazine award for his short story Dancing. In 2010 he was made a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec. His latest novel is The Soul of All Great Designs. He is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

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Malika Booker

Writer

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Malika Booker is a British writer of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage. She is co-founder of Malika’s kitchen, a writer’s collective based in London, Chicago and New York. She was the first Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her latest book is Pepper Seed.

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Vashti Bowlah

Writer

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Vashti Bowlah is a writer from Trinidad and Tobago. Her short stories and articles have appeared in various publications, including St. Petersburg Review, The Caribbean Writer, Poui, and St. Somewhere Journal. She was awarded The Caribbean Writer’s David Hough Literary Prize, and is a Pushcart nominee. Her first book of short fiction, Under the Peepal Tree, will be launched at the 2014 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

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Bridget Brereton

Historian

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Bridget Brereton is professor emerita of history at UWI, St. Augustine, and author of Race Relations in Colonial Trinidad and A History of Modern Trinidad, among other books.

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NoViolet Bulawayo

Writer

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NoViolet Bulawayo is a Zimbabwean author. Her novel We Need New Names was shortlisted for the Etisalat Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Prize, making her the first black African woman to be shortlisted for the award. She is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

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Margaret Busby

Publisher

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Margaret Busby, OBE, is a British writer and publisher. She co-founded the publishing firm Allison and Busby and works widely in publishing in the UK.

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Vahni Capildeo

Writer

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Vahni Capildeo is a Trinidad born writer, based in theUK since 1991. She haspublished five books ofpoetry, most recently Utter. Her collection Dark and Unaccustomed Words was longlisted for the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize.

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Kwame Dawes

Writer

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Kwame Dawes is a Ghanaian-born Jamaican writer who has published numerous poetry collections, most recently Duppy Conqueror. In 2011 he was awarded the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award in recognition of his generosity to other writers and the broader literary community. He is director of the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica and founder of the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize. He is now Professor of English at the University of Nebraska and editor-in-chief at the journal Prairie Schooner.

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Danielle Delon

Historian

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Danielle Delon is the editor of The Letters of Margaret Mann, is a former magazine editor and is a publisher whose current projects include a book about Trinidad and Tobago food and a history of the bridges of Trinidad and Tobago. She is also the Director of the NGC Children’s Bocas Lit Fest.

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Zee Edgell

2014 OCM Bocas Prize Judge

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Zee Edgell is a Belizean writer, author of four novels, and four short stories. Her first novel, Beka Lamb, won the Fawcett Society Book Prize in 1982. She won the Canute Brodhurst Prize for her short story, My Uncle Theophilus, published in the Caribbean Writer, 1999. She is working on her fifth novel, tentatively titled Moses Kingsley. She is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

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Bernardine Evaristo

2014 OCM Bocas Prize Judge

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Bernardine Evaristo, MBE is the author of seven books of fiction and verse fiction, two of which were adapted into BBC Radio 4 plays. A literary critic and editor, she is Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University, London. She has won several awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts. Her most recent book is Mr Loverman. She is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

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Esther Figueroa

Writer

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Esther Figueroa, Ph.D., is a Jamaican independent filmmaker, writer and linguist. Figueroa writes in a variety of genres — fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose — on a wide range of topics. Limbo is her debut novel. Previous publications include Sociolinguistic Metatheory, and At Home the Green Remains. Her films include the award-winning feature documentary Jamaica for Sale.

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A-dZiko Gegele

Writer

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A-dZiko Gegele is a poet, playwright and novelist of Jamaican and Nigerian parentage. She completed a residency at the prestigious Yaddo Artists’ Retreat and participated in the Cropper Residency and Calabash Writers Workshops. Her work has been published in numerous international anthologies, and her first novel All Over Again is shortlisted for the 2014 Burt Award.

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Lorna Goodison

Writer

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Lorna Goodison was born in Jamaica, and has won numerous awards for her writing in both poetry and prose, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Musgrave Gold Medal from Jamaica. Along with her award winning memoir From Harvey River, she has published three collections of short stories (including By Love Possessed, 2011) and nine collections of poetry, the most recent of which, Oracabessa, is the poetry winner of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize.

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Keith Gray

Writer

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Keith Gray, critically acclaimed British author, writes coming of age novels for young adults and children. He has written more than ten books including Warehouse, shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award and winner of the Angus Book Award; Marlarkey, shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize and winner of the South Lanarkshire Book Award; and Ostrich Boys, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and Costa Children’s Book Award.

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Allan Guthrie

Writer

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Allan Guthrie is a Scottish literary agent, editor, and crime writer. His first novel Two-Way Split, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, and won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2007. His most recent novel is Slammer.

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Joanne Hillhouse

Writer

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Joanne Hillhouse is an Antiguan and Barbudan writer. She has won fellowships to Breadloaf, Callalloo, and the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute and has been awarded a UNESCO prize as well as the David Hough Literary Prize. Her manuscript Musical Youth is shortlisted for the 2014 Burt Award.

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Kevin Jared Hosein

Writer

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Kevin Jared Hosein is a Trinidadian writer and poet whose short story “The Monkey Trap” is featured in Peepal Tree Press and Akashic Books’ upcoming anthology, Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. His poem, The Wait is So, So Long, was adapted into a short film which was awarded a Gold Key at the New York-based Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Littletown Secrets is his debut book.

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Fédon Honoré

Midnight Robber

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Fédon Honoré’s has been playing Midnight Robber from the age of 12. His stage alter-ego is the Master of the Killer Oratory (M.O.K.O.) As a Midnight Robber, and aspiring poet, calypsonian, extemporanian, singer/songwriter, and novelist, Fédon chooses words because words have chosen him.

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Riyad Insanally

OAS Representative in Trinidad and Tobago

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Dr. Riyad Insanally has been the OAS Representative in Trinidad and Tobago since April 2008. Prior to his appointment, he was an Adviser to the OAS Assistant Secretary General in Washington, DC. Dr. Insanally also represented Guyana’s sugar interests in Europe, serving concurrently as Senior Trade Adviser at the Guyana High Commission in London and Commercial Representative of the Guyana Sugar Corporation. He was Political Adviser to the first two Secretaries General of the Association of Caribbean States, in Port of Spain, and served as a Senior Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, specialising in multilateral diplomacy and regional integration issues.

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Debbie Jacob

Writer

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Debbie Jacob is a journalist, librarian, and English teacher. She is Head Librarian at the International School of Port of Spain and a columnist for the Trinidad Guardian. Born in the United States, she has lived in Trinidad for over 20 years. Her most recent book is Wishing for Wings.

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Barbara Jenkins

Writer

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Barbara Jenkins is a Trinidadian writer known mostly for short stories and life writing. She is the winner of multiple awards, including the Caribbean region prize in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 2010 and 2011, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize for Life Writings, and the 2013 Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize. Sic Transit Wagon is her debut book.

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Anthony Joseph

Writer

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Anthony Joseph is a Trinidadian poet, novelist, musician and Creative Writing lecturer based in London. His publications include three volumes of poetry and a novel, The African Origins of UFOs. Joseph lectures in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College and is currently studying towards a PhD at Goldsmiths. His latest collection is Rubber Orchestras.

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Linton Kwesi Johnson

Chief Judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize

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Linton Kwesi Johnson is a Jamaican poet who revolutionized literary English with his electrifying fusion of oral verse, Jamaican Creole, radical politics and dub rhythms. In 1981 he founded his own record label, LKJ, and in 2002 he became the second living poet and the only black poet to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series with his book Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems. He is the Chief judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

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Earl Lovelace

Writer

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Earl Lovelace is a Trinidadian writer. His books include the Caribbean classic The Dragon Can’t Dance, and Salt, winner of the 1997 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. His novel Is Just A Movie won the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and Grand Prize for Caribbean Literature, from the Regional Council of Guadeloupe.

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Vladimir Lucien

Poet

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Vladimir Lucien is a St Lucian poet. He studied Literature and Theatre Arts in UWI, Trinidad. His debut collection is Sounding Ground.

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Mark Lyndersay

Journalist

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Mark Lyndersay is a Trinidadian photographer and journalist. His Trinidad Guardian column BitDepth is the longest running newspaper column reporting on technology in the country.

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Kellie Magnus

Writer

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Kellie Magnus, author of Caribbean Street Food, is a Jamaican journalist and author of the popular children’s Little Lion series set in Jamaica. She writes for the New York editions of the Daily News and The Jamaica Gleaner.

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Sunity Maharaj

2014 OCM Bocas Prize Judge

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Sunity Maharaj is a media professional of thirty-five years’ experience. She is currently Director of the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies. She is a Judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

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Sharon Millar

Writer

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Sharon Millar is a Trinidadian writer and winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story “The Whale House”. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Massachusetts and was featured in the New Talent Showcase in Bocas 2013.

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Kei Miller

Writer

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Kei Miller, born in Jamaica in 1978, is the winner of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize in the non-fiction category for his collection of essays “Writing Down the Vision”, published by Peepal Tree Press. His first collection of short fiction, The Fear of Stones, was short-listed in 2007 for the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize. His first poetry collection, Kingdom of Empty Bellies, was published in March 2006 by Heaventree Press; his second, There Is an Anger That Moves, was published by Carcanet in October 2007. His new poetry collection, The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion, was released in May 2014, published by Carcanet Press.

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Denise Mina

Writer

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Denise Mina is a Scottish crime writer, playwright, and comic book writer. Her first novel, Garnethill, won the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasy Dagger Award for best first crime novel. In 2001 her novel The Field of Blood was filmed and broadcast by the BBC. Her latest book is Gods and Beasts from the Alex Marrow series.

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Mervyn Morris

2014 OCM Bocas Prize Judge

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Mervyn Morris is a Jamaican poet and professor emeritus at UWI, Mona. He is the author of Making West Indian Literature (2005), “Is English We Speaking” and Other Essays (1999) and six books of poetry. His latest book is Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Identity. He is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

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Philip Nanton

Writer

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Philip Nanton is a poet and short story writer. He lives and works in Barbados as a writer and lecturer at the University of the West Indies. He has written and presented Caribbean culture programmes on BBC Radio. A poet and spoken word artist, he is the writer and producer of the CD, Island Voices.

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Grace Nichols

Writer

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Grace Nichols is a Guyanese poet and children’s writer whose first collection, I Is a Long-Memoried Woman, won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. A subsequent film adaptation of the book was awarded a gold medal at the International Film and Television Festival of New York. The book was also dramatised for radio by the BBC. Her latest collection is I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected Poems.

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Ayodhya Ouditt

Designer & Illustrator

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Ayodhya Ouditt is a designer, illustrator, and writer. He studied industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design, focusing on system design, sustainable design, and design for social change. He has also worked as a copywriter, and science illustator, and recently as a costume designer for Trinidad Carnival.

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Ingrid Persaud

Writer

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Ingrid Persaud is a Trinidadian writer and artist living in Barbados. Her writing has been featured in several magazines. If I Never Went Home is her first novel.

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Caryl Phillips

Writer

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Caryl Phillips is a St.Kitts-born British novelist, playwright and essayist, currently Professor of English at Yale University. His novel, A Distant Shore, won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and Crossing the River was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He also wrote the award-winning screenplay for the adaptation of V.S. Naipaul’s novel The Mystic Masseur. He is the author of fourteen works of fiction and non-fiction, most recently In the Falling Snow.

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Jeremy Poynting

Publisher

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Jeremy Poynting is the founder of publishing house Peepal Tree Press based in the UK, a leading publisher of Caribbean fiction and poetry. As a literary critic he has published widely in journals such as The New Voices and Journal of Commonwealth Literature, among others, on the topic of Indo-Caribbean literature.

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Jennifer Rahim

Poet

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Jennifer Rahim is a Trinidadian poet, winner of the 2010 Casa de las Americas Prize for her poetry collection Approaching Sabbaths. Her latest book is Ground Level.

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Kenneth Ramchand

2014 OCM Bocas Prize Judge

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Kenneth Ramchand is one of the Caribbean’s most distinguished literary critics, author of the seminal study The West Indian Novel and Its Background (1970). He is professor emeritus of West Indian literature at the University of the West Indies and former president of the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

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Gordon Rohlehr

Professor

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Gordon Rohlehr is a Professor Emeritus of West Indian Literature at UWI, St. Augustine. He has published extensively on the topic of Calypso, West Indian literature, and popular culture in the Caribbean. He has been visiting professor to Harvard and John Hopkins University, among others, and in 1995 he was awarded the University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

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Nilanjana Roy

Writer

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Nilanjana Roy is an Indian journalist and literary critic, author of The Wildings, which won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award (2013) and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. She writes a weekly column for the Business Standard and is a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times. Her latest book is The Hundred Names of Darkness.

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Virginia Pacifique-Marshall

Artist

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Virginia Pacifique-Marshall is a Trinidadian artist and former primary school teacher. She is a member of the Women in Art Organization and has taken part in three group exhibitions since 2008.

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Short Pants

Calypsonian

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Short Pants has been singing in the Calypso Tents for over thirty years. He is well known for the strong lyrical content of his calypsoes and for his extempore singing. He has been a regular finalist in the National Extempo Competition and in various Independence Calypso competitions. He has also penned a number of excellent calypsoes for his children; two of whom have won the National Junior Calypso title.

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Hazel Simmons – McDonald

2014 OCM Bocas Prize Judge

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Hazel Simmons-McDonald is a Professor of Applied Linguistics and the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies Open Campus. She has edited anthologies of poetry and prose, and serves on the editorial board of Poui, a journal of creative writing. She has published poetry and short fiction, and was among eleven writers of short fiction listed for consideration for the first Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize.

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Colleen Smith Dennis

Writer

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Colleen Smith Dennis is a Jamaican writer who currently works as a High School English teacher. She is the author of three books including Inner City Girl, shortlisted for the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

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Amanda Smyth

Writer

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Amanda Smyth is Irish-Trinidadian and was educated in England. Her first novel, Black Rock (Serpent’s Tail), won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger 2010, and was selected for Waterstones New Voices in 2009. It was also chosen for Oprah’s Summer Reads for 2009, shortlisted for NAACP award and the McKitterick prize. She was awarded an Arts Council grant for her latest book, A Kind of Eden (Serpent’s Tail).

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Mervyn Taylor

Poet

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Mervyn Taylor is a Trinidadian poet based in the US. He is the author of four collections, most recently The Waving Gallery.

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Johnny Temple

Publisher

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Johnny Temple is the founder of publishing house Akashic Books based in NY. He is also the bass guitarist of the successful band Girls Against Boys and chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council. He edited the short story collection USA Noir.

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Marjorie Thorpe

Vice-Chair of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize

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Marjorie Thorpe was Regional Chair of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and the Caribbean), 2003 to 2005. A former University Dean of the Faculty of Arts and General Studies, UWI, she was subsequently appointed Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. She is the overall vice-chair of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize.

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Boyd Tonkin

2014 OCM Bocas Prize Judge

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Boyd Tonkin studied literature at Cambridge University before becoming an award-winning journalist. Until recently the Literary Editor of The Independent, he is now the newspaper’s Senior Writer. He has reported on cultural and social issues from more than 30 countries. In addition to judging the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize annually since 2001, he has judged many other awards including the Booker Prize. He is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

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Elizabeth Walcott – Hackshaw

Writer

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Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw is a Trinidadian writer, daughter of the Nobel laureate Derek Walcott. She received a doctorate in French Literature and is now a senior lecturer and coordinator at UWI, St Augustine, specializing in francophone Caribbean literature and nineteenth-century French poetry. This year she is launching her new novel, Mrs B.

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Roland Watson – Grant

Writer

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Roland Watson-Grant is a Jamaican writer, advertising copywriter and creative director. He started his literary career by writing thirty-second short stories for radio and television in Jamaica and in 2011 he was awarded the Lightship International Literary Prize in England. Sketcher is his debut novel.

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Jessie-May Ventour

Broadcaster

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Jessie-May Ventour is well known from her time as co-host of CNMG’s morning talk-show ‘First Up’. A professional broadcaster, Jessie-May has over 20 years media experience. She has worked with various government ministries and agencies, and the United Nations, in the corporate communications field.