Bocas News

News throughout each festival and all year round
26
Feb

Judge Spotlight – Bernardine Evaristo

By Shivanee Ramlochan, 2014 Bocas Lit fest blogger

Photo © Hayley Madden.

Photo © Hayley Madden.

Dear Bocas enthusiasts,

You’ve seen this year’s longlist – ten outstanding titles of fiction, poetry and non-fiction will be duking it out for shortlist honours. Before the shortlist is officially unveiled in late March, let’s get to know the eleven judges faced with such nailbiting selection tasks!

We’ll start with the Poetry judges: today, enjoy a virtual handshake with Bernardine Evaristo, whose latest novel, Mr. Loverman, is making confident strides in critical circles, for its examination of race, gender and sexuality. In my review of Mr. Loverman for the Trinidad Guardian’s Sunday Arts Section, I called it “a riot on the page, a lushly conducted affair that’s begging for filmic treatment.” I’m far from the only one who thinks highly of Evaristo’s seventh book; here are some snippets of acclaim from the international press:

 “See, even when dealing with the big ol’ issues, Evaristo maintains a lively cheek. Taking a pop at small-minded bigots as well as acknowledging these characters’ own faults, there’s a poetry to the down and dirty ways of Mr. Walker.” – Shucks Mahoney for Pajiba

“Evaristo has a lot going on in this unusual urban romance, but beneath her careful study of race and sexuality is a beautiful love story.” — Melissa Katsoulis for The Telegraph

“A pacey fable about summoning both the daring and the art to live a truthful life, and her writing simply fizzes with musical energy.” – Kate Colquhoun for The Sunday Express

Mr. Loverman (2013)

Mr. Loverman (2013)

Evaristo, who received an MBE in 2009, is no stranger to the privilege and pressure of an ajudicator’s panel: she’s served as a judge for the Golden Baobab Prize; the Caine Prize for African Fiction; the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and several others.

In addition to Mr. Loverman, Evaristo’s works include:

  • A novel in verse – The Emperor’s Babe
  • A satirical reimagining of history – Blonde Roots
  • An experimental novel – Soul Tourists
  • A semi-autobiographical novel-in-verse – Lara

For more information on these titles and others by Bernardine Evaristo, check out her well-curated website!

Also, stay tuned – as soon as our final #bocas2014 programme is available, we’ll let you know when you can see Evaristo speak and share her work, at this year’s NGC Bocas Lit Fest.