Bocas Lit Fest

William Shakespeare, a.k.a. Big Will

14 lines or less


Forsooth! Make haste! As part of our programme of events celebrating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare, we’re hosting a very special open mic event at Bocas 2016 — and we want you to join in, on Sunday 1 May, 12 to 1 pm.

14 lines is the length of a sonnet, the lyrical form perfected four centuries ago by Shakespeare — just long enough to tell a story, make an argument, seduce a paramour, or mourn a tabanca. We invite you to come and read your own original piece of verse or prose, maximum 14 lines (or 14 sentences), and compete for the praise of our two judges, writer and actor elisha efua bartels and scholar Giselle Rampaul — and for a special prize, courtesy the Bocas Lit Fest and the British Council.

The judges will award points for:

Shakespearean spirit: we’re looking for pieces inspired by Shakespeare’s language, themes, characters, or plots.
Originality: how boldly can you adapt or interpret Shakespeare’s stories?
Inventiveness of language: Shakespeare was a master of vocabulary, metaphor, rhyme, and pun. Follow his lead.
Brevity: the soul of wit. Please keep to the 14-line limit!
Costumes and props: yes, Shakespearean cosplay is not just allowed — it’s encouraged. Rock those yellow stockings, cross-gartered.

To sign up for this special open mic, email us at, or look for the signup sheet at the information desk during the festival, located in the National Library Rotunda.

Scroll to Top