Bocas News

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Judge Spotlight: Fred D’Aguiar

By Shivanee Ramlochan, 2012 Bocas Lit fest blogger


Greetings, Bocas enthusiasts! If you’ve been keeping abreast of current news, you’ll have noted, with delight, that the official longlist for this year’s prize was announced over the weekend. I’m guessing that many of us have now acquired a substantial, exciting reading list, comprising of some, most, or, for the ambitious, all of the selected titles.This week, we’ll become better acquainted with our three judging chairs for poetry, fiction and non-fiction. They have the remarkable, possibly nerve-wracking task of selecting the overall festival prize winner, in conjunction with the overseeing judging chairs, George Lamming and Marjorie Thorpe (more on them next week!). Without further ado, let’s get to know the judging chair for poetry, Fred D’Aguiar. Here’s his official bio:

“Fred D’Aguiar is the author of eleven books of poetry and fiction which have been translated into a dozen languages, and a number of essays, one of which was included in Best American Essays 2000. His play A Jamaican Airman Foresees His Death (produced at Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in 1991, and published by Methuen, London in 1995).  His BBC-commissioned radio play, Days and Nights in Bedlam, was broadcast and webcast in October 2005. His most recent book, Continental Shelf (Carcanet, 2009) was a U.K. Poetry Book Society Choice and shortlisted for the UK’s T.S. Eliot Prize 2009.  Born in London in 1960 of Guyanese parents and brought up in Guyana, he teaches at Virginia Tech where he is Gloria D. Smith Professor of English.”

Further Reading (Reviews/Interviews/Features):
♦ Interview at The Poetry Kit
♦ Brief Review of Continental Shelf at The Guardian
♦ An essay by D’Aguiar on Wilson Harris’ fiction at The Caribbean Review of Books
♦ Review of The Longest Memory at The Independent

If, like me, you think the best way to appreciate a poet’s voice is to throw yourself headlong into reading his work, then here are some good places to begin, online: you can read (and listen!) to D’Aguiar’s poem “ROYGBIV”, here. You can also enjoy a selection of three poems, here. You might, when you’re through, be in danger of rushing out to procure more of D’Aguiar’s work; this, of course, is bound to be less of a peril and more of a sustained reading pleasure. Do enjoy the poetry titles on the Bocas longlist, and stop by soon, for our profile of non-fiction chair, Frank Birbalsingh.

Photo provided courtesy of author.