Events

The 5th annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest, 29 April - 3 May, was free and open to the public. All events took place at the National Library and Old Fire Station in downtown Port of Spain, unless otherwise stated.
Day 1
29 Apr 2015
Day 2
30 Apr 2015
Day 3
01 May 2015
Day 4
02 May 2015
Day 5
03 May 2015

Mind Change

Leading neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield explains how digital technology is changing the way we think and behave — and what that means for entrepreneurs and business leaders. We should all...
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Baroness Susan Greenfield

Tribute to Chilean Poets Gabriela Mistral & Pablo Neruda

Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), Chilean poet and diplomat, was the first writer from Latin America to win a Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945. To mark the 70th anniversary of this historic...
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Gabriela Mistral
Gustavo Barrera Calderón
Pablo Neruda

Festival Warmup on the Brian Lara Promenade

Hot lyrics and cool vibes from the 2Cents Movement at the lunchtime jam on Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain. 12–1 pm • Brian Lara Promenade

The many lives of Raoul Pantin

Celebrating Trinidad’s late, iconic writer through readings from his poems, his journalism, his Bim screenplay, and memoirs. With Mandisa Pantin, Jaliyah Philips, Ken Gordon, Che Rodriguez and Narad Mahabir, and Monique Roffey...
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Che Rodriguez
Kenneth ‘Ken’ Gordon
Mandisa Pantin
Monique Roffey

Who’s in charge?: The problems and possibilities of good governance

“Governance” — the buzzword of the moment in an election year, but what does it mean? Former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, ex-Mayor of Port of Spain Louis Lee Sing, and...
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Basdeo Panday
Brinsley Samaroo
Louis Lee Sing
Sunity Maharaj

Secrets of the creative mind

Susan Greenfield talks to architect Mark Raymond about the neuroscience of creativity. 10.30 am–12 pm • AV Room
Baroness Susan Greenfield
Mark Raymond

The business of translation

Translators Daniel Hahn and Frank Wynne, publisher Johnny Temple, and literary agent Ria Julien give an inside perspective on the publishing world’s view of translation 10.30–11.30 am • 1st Floor...
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Daniel Hahn
Frank Wynne
Johnny Temple
Ria Julien

Who’s in charge?: Extempo Debate

Extempo masters Black Sage and Lingo bring their cutting wit to a sung debate about politics and politricks 12–12.45 pm • Abercromby Street Arcade
Black Sage

Film: Poetry Is an Island

Poetry Is an Island, dir. Ida Does. This moving portrait of Nobel laureate Derek Walcott grounds his lyrics in the landscape of St. Lucia. 12.30–2.30 pm • AV Room
Derek Walcott, OBE

Open Mic: Stand and Deliver

Open mic for writers of prose and poetry. Share your words and stories with the world! MC’d by Idrees Saleem, 2014 Verses Bocas Poetry Slam winner. To sign-up, email us...
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Take Two: Landscapes of poetry

Landscapes of poetry: Trinidadian-Canadian Shane Book and Forward Prize-winning Jamaican Kei Miller read from their new collections, Congotronic and The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion 1–2 pm...
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Kei Miller
Shane Book

The world of children’s writing

Daniel Hahn, editor of the new Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature, on global trends in writing for young readers 1–2 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room
Daniel Hahn

Dying to Better Themselves

Olive Senior, author of a groundbreaking new book on West Indian workers who helped build the Panama Canal, talks to historian Bridget Brereton 2–3 pm • Old Fire Station
Bridget Brereton
Olive Senior

Take Two: Home and away

Home and away: Shani Mootoo (Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab) and Lawrence Scott (Leaving by Plane Swimming Back Underwater) read from their new works of fiction 3–4 pm •...
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Lawrence Scott
Shani Mootoo

Nation vs. language

Scholars Carolyn Cooper and Silvio Torres-Saillant, diplomat Daniela Tramacere, and poet Gerda Stevenson debate questions of language, identity, and national consciousness in the Caribbean and further afield; moderated by David Codling....
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Carolyn Cooper
Daniela Tramacere
David Codling
Gerda Stevenson
Silvio Torres-Saillant

Bocas Henry Swanzy Award

Margaret Busby, co-founder of the UK publisher Allison and Busby and grande dame of Black British publishing, is presented with the award recognising editors, publishers, critics, and broadcasters who have...
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Clare Alexander
Funso Aiyejina
Lawrence Scott
Margaret Busby, OBE

Peekash Presents

The launch of Coming Up Hot: Best New Poets from the Caribbean, featuring Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, Shivanee Ramlochan, and Colin Robinson Introduced by Jeremy Poynting and Johnny Temple 7.30–10 pm •...
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Colin Robinson
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné
Jeremy Poynting
Johnny Temple
Shivanee Ramlochan

Who’s Next?

Six up-and-coming writers share their fiction and poems. Featuring Elliot Bastien, Summer Edward, Richard Georges, Darin Gibson, Brandon O’Brien and Dara Wilkinson Bobb, chaired by Ayanna Gillian Lloyd. 10–11 am...
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Ayanna Gillian Lloyd
Brandon O’Brien
Dara Wilkinson-Bobb
Darin Gibson
Summer Edward

Film: Poetry Is an Island

Poetry Is an Island, dir. Ida Does. This moving portrait of Nobel laureate Derek Walcott grounds his lyrics in the landscape of St. Lucia. 10 am–12 pm, AV Room
Derek Walcott, OBE

Small Axe Literary Competition showcase

The annual competition for emerging writers run by the New York­–based journal Small Axe has become a major platform for recognizing new Caribbean literary talent. Past winners and shortlistees read...
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Desiree Seebaran
Hazel McShine
Jaime Lee Loy
June Aming
Kelly Baker Josephs
Stephen Narain

Brave new worlds: how fantasy can fix reality

Caribbean speculative fiction authors Tobias Buckell, R.S.A. Garcia, Nalo Hopkinson and Karen Lord explore how fiction about the fantastic can drive us to imagine alternative futures; moderated by Shivanee Ramlochan....
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Karen Lord
Nalo Hopkinson
R.S.A. Garcia
Shivanee Ramlochan
Tobias S. Buckell

Sci-fi open mic

Budding writers of speculative fiction: this open mic is just for you. MC’d by Brandon O’Brien. To sign-up, email us at info@bocaslitfest.com, with the subject line “sci-fi open mic”. 12–12.30 pm...
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Introducing the Windham Campbell Prizes

Michael Kelleher, administrator of these awards for international writers based at Yale University, on what the Windham Campbell Prizes mean for Caribbean authors 12–1 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room
Michael Kelleher

Films: Walcott as Poet and Seer; The Saddhu of Couva

The Saddhu of Couva, dir. Yao Ramesar. Walcott as Poet and Seer, dir. Jean Antoine-Dunne. An imaginative adaptation of Derek Walcott’s well-known poem and a searching documentary on his work...
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Future Friday: Speculative fiction writers

The Grenadian-born New York Times bestselling author Tobias S. Buckell (Hurricane Fever) and Trinidadian R.S.A. Garcia (Lex Talionis) read from and discuss their sci-fi and futuristic novels. 1–2 pm •...
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R.S.A. Garcia
Tobias S. Buckell

Translating the past

Colonised by foreign invaders, forced to speak a new language, resisting a predatory ruling class — is this medieval England, or the modern Caribbean? Or both? Poet Patience Agbabi and...
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Barbara Lalla
Patience Agbabi

Future Friday: Speculative fiction

Nalo Hopkinson (The New Moon’s Arms) and Karen Lord (The Galaxy Game) read from their latest speculative fiction novels. 2–3 pm • Old Fire Station
Karen Lord
Nalo Hopkinson

Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation

Scholar Silvio Torres-Saillant discusses the importance of this landmark book by sociologist Franklin Franco, exposing the longstanding ethnic tensions in the Dominican Republic 2–3 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room
Silvio Torres-Saillant

Film: Dream on Monkey Mountain

Dream on Monkey Mountain (filmed for NBC by Hugh Robertson) Filmed in 1970 for NBC Television, this version of Derek Walcott’s classic play features the original cast, including the late...
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Black Sand

Eminent Jamaican poet and scholar Edward Baugh reads from his most recent collection and discusses his life in Caribbean letters 3–4 pm • Old Fire Station
Edward Baugh

Afternoon Jam: Storytelling and music

Catch the after-work vibe, with music by Ruth Osman, Kyle Richardson, the Ernesto Latin Show, and Gerry Williams of NEW FIRE. 4–5 pm • Abercromby Street Arcarde

Take Two: From Scotland with love

From Scotland with love: poets Aonghas MacNeacail and Gerda Stevenson bring both verse and tidings from north of the border 4–5 pm • Old Fire Station Presented in partnership with the British...
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Aonghas MacNeacail
Gerda Stevenson

Patois: Trinidad’s heritage language

Linguists Jo-Anne Ferreira and Nnamdi Hodge pose provocative questions about the language spoken by many of our great-grandparents — and its impact on how we think and speak today. Chaired...
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Jo-Anne Ferreira
Nnamdi Hodge

Island Bodies

Poet and scholar Rosamond King talks to Colin Robinson about the Caribbean’s “transgressive sexualities.” 4–5 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room
Colin Robinson
Rosamond King

Burt Award Ceremony

The 2015 winners of the second annual Burt Award for Caribbean Literature — recognising books written for young adult readers — are announced. 6–7.30 pm • Old Fire Station
Diana McCaulay
Imam Baksh
Lynn Joseph
Michael Cozier

Front and Centre: Roy Cape & friends

A tribute to T&T’s star musician and the co-author of his memoir, Jocelyne Guilbault, in conversation with Alvin Daniell. Plus drinks, music, and a live performance by 3Canal. 8 pm...
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Alvin Daniell
Jocelyne Guilbault
Roy Cape

The best of CODE’s Burt Awards

Three of the finalists for CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature 2015 read from and discuss their works of young adult fiction, with Richard Finch. 10–11 am • 1st Floor...
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Diana McCaulay
Imam Baksh
Michael Cozier

Writing in tongues

Writers from three corners of the world discuss the problems and privileges of writing across language borders, and what gets lost — or found — in translation. Featuring Kei Miller,...
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Aonghas MacNeacail
Daniel Hahn
Gustavo Barrera Calderón
Kei Miller

Film: Dream on Monkey Mountain

Dream on Monkey Mountain (filmed for NBC by Hugh Robertson). Filmed in 1970 for NBC Television, this version of Derek Walcott’s classic play features the original cast, including the late...
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Take Two: Violent times

Fred D’Aguiar and Monique Roffey read from Children of Paradise and House of Ashes, their novels inspired by violent episodes in the histories of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. 11am –12 pm • Old...
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Fred D’Aguiar
Monique Roffey

Where is soca going?

Scholar Jocelyne Guilbault talks to music journalists Mark Lyndersay and Laura Dowrich and soca producer Kasey Phillips about the direction and evolution of T&T’s popular musical form; chaired by Rhoda...
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Jocelyne Guilbault
Mark Lyndersay

Micro Abierto: A Spanish-language open mic

A Spanish-language open mic — bring your lyrics, amigos!  With a guest reading by Dr. José Serulle Ramia, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, and a feature performance by Chilean poet...
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Gustavo Barrera Calderón

Film: The Rig

The Rig, dir. Derek Walcott A rare opportunity to see this feature-length film, written and directed by the poet-playwright in 1983. 12–1.30 pm • AV Room

DIY Lit

Five of the best recent self-published authors read from their work and share their insights into doing it your own way. Featuring writers Jenny Green, John O. Stewart, Vaughn T. Stanford,...
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Jenny Green
John O. Stewart
Treldon Layne
Vanessa Salazar
Vaughn T. Stanford

Translation Slam

Literary translation as a competitive sport? Game on! With Daniel Hahn and Frank Wynne, “refereed” by Eric Maitrejean. 1 – 2 pm • Old Fire Station
Daniel Hahn
Eric Maitrejean
Frank Wynne

The unknown Eric Roach

2015 is the centenary of T&T’s pioneering poet and playwright. Eric Roach’s biographer Laurence Breiner and his editors Kenneth Ramchand and Danielle Gianetti join writers Earl Lovelace and Andre Bagoo...
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Earl Lovelace
Ken Ramchand
Laurence Breiner

Telling Tales

Poet Patience Agbabi drags Chaucer into the 21st-century in this lively, unexpected adaptation of The Canterbury Tales. 2–3 pm • Old Fire Station. Presented in partnership with Renaissance One
Patience Agbabi

Writers Union Presents

Barbara Lalla reads from her novel Uncle Brother and shares her experience of writing family history into fiction, followed by readings from Writers Union members. 2–5 pm • 1st Floor...
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Barbara Lalla

Take Two: Family ties

Novelists Tiphanie Yanique (Land of Love and Drowning) and Naomi Jackson (The Star Side of Bird Hill) read from their books inspired by family stories, set respectively in St Thomas...
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Naomi Jackson
Tiphanie Yanique

Short films: Caribbean writers in Canada

A special series of short films on Caribbean writers in Canada: My Dinner with Shani: Shani Mootoo Gardening with Olive: Olive Senior Fabulous Spaces: Nalo Hopkinson Directed by Frances-Anne Solomon...
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Nalo Hopkinson
Olive Senior
Shane Book
Shani Mootoo

OCM Bocas Prize And Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize

Our headline awards ceremony returns to its original home, and pays tribute to inaugural OCM Bocas Prize winner Derek Walcott in poetry and music 6.30–10 pm • Old Fire Station
Derek Walcott, OBE

Tell Me A Story

Storytelling for grownups! Featuring Glenda-Rose Nassoma Layne. 10–11 am • Abercromby Street Arcade
Glenda-Rose Nassoma Layne

Walcott vs. Brathwaite?

Forty years ago, Derek Walcott and Kamau Brathwaite seemed to many readers like opposing poles of Caribbean poetry. How accurate was this idea then, and how has it changed? The...
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Edward Baugh
Kelly Baker Josephs
Laurence Breiner

Commonwealth Writers

Kevin Jared Hosein, 2015 Caribbean winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, joins past winner Sharon Millar and judge Fred D’Aguiar to discuss what the prize means for emerging Caribbean...
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Fred D’Aguiar
Sharon Millar

To the barricades!

Bhaskar Sunkara, editor of the politics magazine Jacobin, talks to publisher Johnny Temple about the state of the left in today’s United States. 12–1 pm • AV Room
Bhaskar Sunkara
Johnny Temple

Kamau Brathwaite at 85

Celebrating the inimitable “voiceprint” of the iconic Barbadian poet. Featuring Kelly Baker Josephs, Vladimir Lucien and Philip Nanton. 12 pm–1 pm • Old Fire Station
Kelly Baker Josephs
Vladimir Lucien

Short films: Caribbean writers in Canada

A special series of short films on Caribbean writers in Canada: My Dinner with Shani: Shani Mootoo Gardening with Olive: Olive Senior Fabulous Spaces: Nalo Hopkinson Directed by Frances-Anne Solomon...
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Nalo Hopkinson
Olive Senior
Shane Book
Shani Mootoo

Sunday Launch

New books by four Trinidadian writers make their debut. Featuring: Burn, by Andre Bagoo (Shearsman Books) The Ten-Days Executive, by Rhoda Bharath (Peepal Tree Press) Swallowing the Sky, by Lisa...
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Andre Bagoo
Lisa Allen-Agostini
Rhoda Bharath
Sharon Millar

Sunday Lime

Music, traditional Carnival characters, even a magician, to liven up your Sunday afternoon! Featuring Idrees Salim as the Midnight Robber; Kimmy Stoute-Robinson as the Pierrot Grenade; entertainment by DMAD Company; magic...
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Idrees Saleem

Building Bridges

Danielle Delon talks about her journey towards documenting the built heritage of T&T in her work in progress Bridges of Trinidad and Tobago 2–3 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room
Danielle Delon

Film: Bim

Bim, dir. Hugh Robertson. The classic and beloved T&T film, with a screenplay by Raoul Pantin and soundtrack by Andre Tanker. 3.00–5.00 pm • AV Room

OCM Bocas Prize: Celebrating the 2015 winners

The poetry, fiction, and non-fiction winners read from their work, introduced by Marjorie Thorpe, vice-chair of the judging panel. 5–6 pm • Old Fire Station
Marjorie Thorpe
Marlon James
Olive Senior
Vladimir Lucien

National Poetry Slam Finals

It’s T&T’s biggest poetry event of the year, bringing the 2015 festival to a rip-roaring close. Advance tickets available or pay at the door.  6–8 pm • Globe Theatre, Park...
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