The Emerging Caribbean Writers Prize

We're seeking a new sponsor for this unique prize for emerging Caribbean writers.

The Emerging Caribbean Writers Prize, formerly known as the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, is an award which allows an emerging Caribbean writer living and working in the Caribbean to devote time to advancing or finishing a literary work, with support from an established writer as mentor. Sponsored by the Hollick Family Charitable Trust for a period of 3 years (2013-2015), the Prize awarded writers in three literary genres over consecutive years: fiction in year one (2013); non-fiction in year two (2014); and poetry in year three (2015).

The Prize is jointly administered by the non-profit organisation the Bocas Lit Fest and the creative writing organisation Arvon.

Previous winners of this much-coveted and valuable Prize are Trinidadian Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné in 2015 (poetry), Jamaican Diana McCaulay in 2014 (non-fiction), and the inaugural Prize in 2013 went to Trinidadian Barbara Jenkins (fiction).

The Bocas Lit Fest is now seeking a new sponsor with regional reach to take over the funding of this unique Caribbean-wide prize from 2016.

The Prize

The Prize consists of:

  1. a cash award
  2. a year’s mentoring by an established writer
  3. travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive Arvon creative writing course at one of Arvon’s internationally renowned writing houses
  4. three days in London to network with editors and publishers, hosted by Arvon, in association with the Free Word Centre and the Rogers, Coleridge & White literary agency.

About the 2015 Prize for Poetry

author-_0033_Danielle Boodoo Fortune

Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, winner of the 2015 Hollick Arvon Prize

Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné from Trinidad and Tobago was announced as the winner of the 2015 Hollick Arvon Prize on Saturday 2 May at the 2015 NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain.

Poets from the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago were shortlisted for the Prize.

The five shortlisted writers were:

  • Elliot Bastien, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Nicolette Bethel, The Bahamas
  • Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Richard Georges, British Virgin Islands
  • Shivanee Ramlochan, Trinidad and Tobago

A further five poets were included on the longlist, announced on 15 March:

  • Zahra Gordon,  Trinidad and Tobago
  • Monica Minott, Jamaica
  • Xavier Navarro, Puerto Rico
  • Lynn Sweeting, The Bahamas
  • Peta-Gaye V. Williams, Jamaica

The ten longlisted poets were selected by the judges from an overall 53 entries, the largest number since the Prize started in 2013.

The international judging panel of five was chaired by Funso Aiyejina, author, scholar, and former Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UWI’s St. Augustine campus. On behalf of his fellow judges, Dr. Ayejina said, “Any one of the five shortlisted poets is good enough to walk away with the prize! These poets are confident explorers of the human condition. They possess the requisite individual styles for an effortless articulation of their visions, and are as much children of the great poetic tradition of the Caribbean as they are purveyors of new vistas and metaphors.”

The other judges were Ruth Borthwick, Chief Executive, Arvon; Edward Baugh, poet and scholar; Jennifer Hewson, literary agent, Rogers, Coleridge & White; and Caroline Hollick, representative of the Hollick Family Charitable Trust.

To be eligible for the 2015 Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, a writer must:

  1. be of Caribbean birth or citizenship, living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean and writing in English
  2. be over the age of 18 by 30 September, 2014
  3. have had at least two poems published in magazines, journals, anthologies, or websites with editorial oversight.
  4. not have previously published a full-length collection of poems with a commercial publishing house (a previous self-published collection does not affect eligibility).

Download the 2015 prize guidelines and entry form here.


About the 2014 Prize for Non-Fiction

Diana McCaulay, winner of the 2014 Hollick Arvon Prize

The 2014 Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize was for the genre of literary non-fiction. Diana McCaulay of Jamaica was announced as the winner on the 26 April 2014 at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

In March 2014, the judges announced a list of eight finalists:

  • Turn Around, Judy Antoine, Grenada
  • Let It Fly, Melissa Balgobin, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Split Level, Rhoda Bharath, Trinidad and Tobago
  • 17 Rest House Road, Ira Mathur, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Loving Jamaica, Diana McCaulay, Jamaica
  • The Plight of the Humanitarian Aid Worker, Nadine McNeil, Jamaica
  • Canouan Suite, Philip Nanton, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Richard Bridgens, Judy Raymond, Trinidad and Tobago


About the 2013 Prize for Fiction

Barbara Jenkins, winner of the 2013 Hollick Arvon Prize

Barbara Jenkins, winner of the 2013 Hollick Arvon Prize

The inaugural Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize was for the genre of fiction. Barbara Jenkins of Trinidad and Tobago was announced as the winner on Saturday 27 April, during the 2013 NGC Bocas Lit Fest. Barbara Jenkins has since published her debut work of fiction, Sic Transit Wagon (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) and is working on her first novel.

In April 2013, the judging panel for the inaugural Hollick Arvon Prize announced a shortlist of six:

  • Lisa Allen-Agostini (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Angela Barry (Bermuda)
  • Vashti Bowlah (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Barbara Jenkins (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Sharon Millar (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Lelawatee Manoo-Rahming (Bahamas/Trinidad and Tobago)

A further eight writers were included on the longlist, announced in March:

  • Katherine Atkinson (St. Lucia)
  • Brenda Lee Brown (Antigua and Barbuda)
  • Lenworth Burke (Jamaica)
  • Ilsa Lopez-Valles (Puerto Rico)
  • Ira Mathur (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Amanda Choo Quan (Trinidad and Tobago/Jamaica)
  • Ann Second (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Hazel Simmonds-McDonald (St. Lucia)