Bocas News

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60 writers + 90 events = the 2012 NGC Bocas Lit Fest

Bocas fans have been asking for months about our 2012 schedule. Well, after lots of hard work and preparation, and with just five weeks to go before the 2012 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, we’re thrilled and excited to announce our festival programme (see it here) and list of participating authors (here).

We went public with plans for Bocas 2012 at a press conference yesterday morning, held at the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago — festival headquarters once again. This year’s NGC Bocas Lit Fest includes — take a deep breath — more than 90 events, and over 60 authors, performers, and speakers.

Once again, a highlight of the festival will be the announcement of the winner of the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize. All eleven judges — headed by the eminent George Lamming — will be present, as well as the three shortlisted authors: Loretta Collins Klobah, Earl Lovelace, and Godfrey Smith. They’ll all be reading from and discussing their work.

Joining them will be a diverse slate of writers from the Caribbean and elsewhere. A strong Jamaican contingent includes the poets Mervyn Morris, Shara McCallum, and Kei Miller, and the fiction writers Erna Brodner and Sharon Leach. We’ll also welcome three writers longlisted for last year’s OCM Bocas Prize, Canada-based Trinidadian Rabindranath Maharaj, Canadian-Haitian Myriam Chancy, and Barbadian Karen Lord. The line-up includes the Guyanese-British poet and novelist Fred D’Aguiar, the Cuban novelist Achy Obejas, and poets Kendel Hippolyte of St. Lucia, Lasana Sekou of St. Martin, and Nicolette Bethel of the Bahamas.

We’re happy to welcome some visitors from further away as well: the Irish writer Joseph O’Neill, whoseNetherland includes a memorable Trinidadian character; the Indian writer Rahul Bhattacharya, whose novelThe Sly Company of People Who Care is set in Guyana; and talented fiction writers from Nigeria and Canada, Chika Unigwe and Rivka Galchen. The distinguished British geneticist Steve Jones will deliver the first annual NGC Bocas Lecture, on the provocative topic of race.

Our own Trinidadian writers are naturally part of the mix. Among others, Monique Roffey, based in London, will read from her new novel, Archipelago, and we’re excited that poet and journalist Andre Bagoo will launch his debut book, Trick Vessels, at Bocas 2012. They’ll be joined by authors of non-fiction books covering everything from history to fashion to sport.

The 2012 programme includes a line-up of workshops for budding writers, daily film screenings, musical performances, our popular spoken word and open mic series in the library’s Abercromby Street arcade — and a few surprises. And on top of all that, a full programme of events for younger readers, the KFC Children’s Bocas Lit Fest.

So, Bocas fans, make sure you take your vitamins and get some rest now — come Thursday 26 April, the action runs all day, and you won’t want to miss any of it!