The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

The overall winner of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize will be announced on 28 April

2018 OCM Bocas Prize shortlist

books shortlisted for 2018 ocm bocas prize

The judges for the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize have chosen a shortlist of two books, announced on 2 April, consisting of the winning books in the poetry and fiction categories:

Poetry winner:
Madwoman, by Shara McCallum (Peepal Tree Press/Alice James Books)

Fiction winner:
Curfew Chronicles, by Jennifer Rahim (Peepal Tree Press)

There is no non-fiction winner for 2018, as the judges did not believe any of the eligible books “could be held to represent the best of regional writing.”

For further details of the shortlisted books, see the full announcement.

The overall winner of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize will be announced on 28 April at the NGC Boas Lit Fest.


2018 OCM Bocas Prize longlist

The 2018 OCM Bocas Prize longlist was announced on 18 March:

POETRY

Liviticus, by Kamau Brathwaite (House of Nehesi)
Infidelities, by Sonia Farmer (Poinciana Paper Press)
Madwoman, by Shara McCallum (Peepal Tree Press/Alice James Books)

FICTION

If I Had the Wings, by Helen Klonaris (Peepal Tree Press)
Curfew Chronicles, by Jennifer Rahim (Peepal Tree Press)
Tell No-One About This, by Jacob Ross (Peepal Tree Press)

NON-FICTION

In the non-fiction category, the judges made an unprecedented decision to name no titles to the longlist. “While a few books stood head and shoulders above the rest,” they write, “even those had obvious shortcomings, and we believe that this prize ought to be awarded for achievement, not for effort.” None of the eligible books, the judges continue, “could be held to represent the best of regional writing.”

For further details of the longlisted books and honourable mentions, see the full announcement.


About the Prize

The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is a major award for literary books by Caribbean writers.

Books are judged in three categories: poetry; fiction — both novels and collections of short stories; and literary non-fiction — including books of essays, biography and autobiography, history, current affairs, travel, and other genres, which demonstrate literary qualities and use literary techniques, regardless of subject matter. (Note: textbooks, technical books, coffee-table books, specialist publications and reference works are not eligible.)

There is a panel of three judges for each category, who determine category shortlists and winners. The three category winners are then judged by a panel of four judges — consisting of the chairs of the category panels and the prize chair — who will determine the overall winner.

The author of the book judged overall winner will receive an award of US$10,000. The other category winners will receive cash awards of US$3,000.

To be eligible for entry for the 2018 prize, a book must:

  1. Have been first published in the calendar year 2017 (1 January to 31 December);
  2. Have been written by a single author who either holds Caribbean citizenship or was born in the Caribbean (this must be verified by the publisher), regardless of current place of residence;
  3. Have been written by an author who is living on 31 December, 2017;
  4. Have been written and first published in English originally (i.e. translations are not eligible);
  5. Be a new work, previously unpublished in book form (though collections including poems, stories, essays, or other short pieces that have individually appeared in print in periodicals or anthologies are eligible).

Submissions must be accompanied by a completed entry form and entry fee. Click to download the OCM Bocas Prize 2018 guidelines and entry form

Submissions for the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize are now closed.

Judges for the 2018 Prize

Lorna Goodison, Chief judge Author, Jamaica; based in Canada

Poetry

Vahni Capildeo, Chair   Author, Trinidad and Tobago; based in United Kingdom

Loretta Collins Klobah   Author and scholar, Puerto Rico

Danielle Legros Georges   Author, Haiti; based in United States

Fiction

Evelyn O’Callaghan, Chair    Scholar, Jamaica; based in Barbados

Maya Jaggi   Author and critic, United Kingdom

Kei Miller   Author, Jamaica; based in United Kingdom

Non-fiction

Judy Raymond, Chair   Author and editor, Trinidad and Tobago

Robert Edison Sandiford   Author and editor, Barbados

Jeremy Taylor   Author and editor, United Kingdom; based in Trinidad and Tobago

2017 Winners

2016 Winners

2015 Winners

2014 Winners

2013 Winners

2012 Winners

2011 Winners

2017 ocm shortlist covers

POETRY: Cannibal, by Safiya Sinclair (University of Nebraska Press)

FICTION & OVERALL WINNER: Augustown, by Kei Miller (Weidenfeld and Nicolson)

NON-FICTION: Virtual Glimpses into the Past/A Walk Back in Time: Snapshots of the History of Trinidad and Tobago, by Angelo Bissessarsingh (Queen Bishop Publishing)

2016 OCM Bocas Prize winners

Books shortlisted for the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize

POETRY: Tiphanie Yanique: Wife (Peepal Tree Press)
FICTION and OVERALL PRIZE: Olive Senior: The Pain Tree (Cormorant Books)
NON-FICTION: Jacqueline Bishop: The Gymnast and Other Positions (Peepal Tree Press)

2015 OCM Bocas Prize winners

ocm bocas prize 2015 shortlist covers

POETRY and OVERALL PRIZE: Vladimir Lucien: Sounding Ground (Peepal Tree Press)
FICTION: Marlon James: A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead)
NON-FICTION: Olive Senior: Dying to Better Themselves: West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal (UWI Press)

  2014 OCM Bocas Prize winners

ocm bocas shortlist covers larger

FICTION and OVERALL PRIZE: Robert Antoni: As Flies to Whatless Boys (Akashic Books)
POETRY: Lorna Goodison: Oracabessa (Carcanet)
NON-FICTION: Kei Miller: Writing Down the Vision: Essays and Prophecies (Peepal Tree Press)

 2013 OCM Bocas Prize winners

Books shortlisted for the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize

POETRY: Fault Lines, by Kendel Hippolyte (Peepal Tree Press)
FICTION and OVERALL PRIZE: Archipelago, by Monique Roffey (Simon and Schuster)
NON-FICTION: The Sky’s Wild Noise: Selected Essays, by Rupert Roopnaraine (Peepal Tree Press)

 2012 OCM Bocas Prize winners

earl-lovelace-is-just-a-movie

POETRY: The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman, by Loretta Collins Klobah (Peepal Tree Press)
FICTION and OVERALL PRIZE: Is Just a Movie, by Earl Lovelace (Faber)
NON-FICTION: George Price: A Life Revealed, by Godfrey P. Smith (Ian Randle Publishers)

2011 OCM Bocas Prize winners

white-egrets

POETRY and OVERALL PRIZE: White Egrets, by Derek Walcott (Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
FICTION: How to Escape from a Leper Colony, by Tiphanie Yanique (Graywolf)
NON-FICTION: Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, by Edwidge Danticat (Princeton)