Bocas Lit Fest

November, the cue for heightened anticipation of the imminent Christmas season, gets a creative boost this year with the NGC Bocas Lit Fest‘s full slate of free November events.

Two local festivals, one international festival, the finale of a national Spoken Word competition, a T&T tour by celebrated Jamaican writer Olive Senior, the end of a nationwide book-reading project and the closing of two important prizes are part of the festive package.

First off is the Courts Bocas Spoken Word Intercol final on Friday 11, at City Hall, San Fernando, where students will come out to loudly support the country’s top secondary school Spoken Word teams.

Up to 30,000 students in 55 schools have been prepping for the big day and the winner will appear in the 2016 NGC Bocas Lit Fest South that takes place on the San Fernando Hill, Saturday 12 and Sunday 13.

The festival is a celebration of words, stories and ideas—written, spoken, sung, dramatized, screened—with literary stalwarts such as Michael Anthony and Extempo master Lingo, plus new award-winning writers from South including Lance Dowrich and Kevin Jared Hosein.

Mindful of its capacity to bring together key actors, the Bocas festival programme includes agenda-setting debates on matters of national importance, such as Life After Oil and The Politics of Cultural Preservation.

Partnerships are a must for non-profit organisations, and Bocas joins forces in South with Junior SanFest, The Oratory Foundation and also with the Green Screen Film Festival for their finale film event and an after-party on The Hill well into Saturday night.

And over in Scarborough, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest Tobago, November 17 to December 3, is a collaboration with the Tobago Word Festival and Writers Guild that will showcase Tobago literary talent, the top Spoken Word artists and offer workshops and film screenings.

In the interim, Olive Senior—2016 winner of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, who will headline the Tobago festival and is queen of the Cape syllabus—will meet over 250 students at a special event in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

She will thrill her other fans at the Medulla Gallery in Woodbrook on November 26, in collaboration with PaperBased bookshop.

NGC Bocas Lit Fest director Marina Salandy-Brown is particularly pleased that in the rich mix of November offerings is the chance for a dozen Caribbean writers to showcase their work to international readers as guests of the largest literary festival in the USA, the Miami Book Fair, November 19-20.

“A dozen or so writers is a first for us. We work assiduously with potential partners to provide international platforms for our writers, acclaimed and emerging. It’s good that increasingly the traction is growing.

This year Miami also includes two of our former Burt Award Young Adult winners.”

She continues, “It is a lot to be doing in one month both at home and abroad but we’re making it a point to meet our audience where they are, and to grow that audience everywhere—it’s not easy but we’ve no doubt that it’s worth it.”


Nov 11: Courts Bocas Spoken Word Intercol final at City Hall, San Fernando

Nov 12—13: 2016 NGC Bocas Lit Fest South at San Fernando Hill

Nov 17—Dec 3: NGC Bocas Lit Fest Tobago, in Scarborough

Nov 19—20: Miami Book Fair, where 12 Caribbean writers will showcase their work

Nov 26: Writer Olive Senior meets her fans at Medulla Gallery in Woodbrook

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