Bocas Lit Fest

A special programme of events at the 2019 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, presented in partnership with the British Council

British Council logo

How does literature break through the social barriers that separate nations and cultures? In a time of renewed and urgent international anxiety about borders, immigration, refugees, and national sovereignty — all of which affect Caribbean nations too — how do books and writers chart possible passages through borders both physical and metaphorical, external and internal? At the 2019 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, we will consider these questions through a programme stream including readings and performances, discussions, and films.

With support from the British Council, 2019 NGC Bocas Lit Fest participants will include writers Diana Evans and Nick Makoha, editor Margaret Busby, and filmmaker Anthony Wall.

Thursday 2 May

New Daughters of Africa
The successor to the groundbreaking anthology of African and African-diaspora women writers has its Caribbean debut, introduced by editor Margaret Busby, with readings by TT writers Lisa Allen-Agostini, Alake Pilgrim, Attillah Springer, plus Diana Evans, Ifeona Fulani, and Nalo Hopkinson.
6–7.30 pm • Library Amphitheatre

Friday 3 May

Breaking Borders
Writers reflect on a world where political anxieties restrict freedom of movement for all. With Diana Evans, Yuri Herrera, and Nick Makoha; chaired by Jane Bryce
3–4.30 pm • Old Fire Station

Saturday 3 May

Diana Evans, award-winning British novelist, talks to Lucy Hannah about her books exploring contemporary London with all its contradictions of race and class
11 am–12 pm • Old Fire Station

Uganda-born British poet Nick Makoha, author of Kingdom of Gravity, and Trinidadian Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, author of Doe Songs, read and discuss their work with Ayanna Gillian Lloyd
3–4 pm • Old Fire Station

Sunday 5 May

Reading beyond boundaries
Politicians draw borders, and artists transcend them. Writers Barbara Lalla, Shivanee Ramlochan, and Arielle John share newly commissioned pieces reflecting on how their work has been shaped and inspired by authors from distant times and places, plus a guest reading by Anu Lakhan, author of Letters to K; chaired by Nicholas Laughlin
1–2 pm • Old Fire Station

Arena screening series

Co-produced by Speaking Volumes and Lucy Hannah, as part of the Your Local Arena series

The BBC’s Arena documentary series, launched in 1975, is one of the world’s most acclaimed film series focused on the arts. In partnership with the London-based literature agency Speaking Volumes, we present a selection of four or five films from the Arena archives (1975–2011) for screening at Bocas 2019, highlighting documentaries that cover writers and other cultural figures who exemplify the theme “Border Crossings” or who contributed to breaking cultural barriers in the UK in the 20th century.

Thursday 2 May

My Name Is Celia Cruz (1988)
Meet the late, great queen of Cuban music in this fascinating documentary from director Anthony Wall
2.30–3.30 pm • AV Room

Gilberto Gil: Back to Bahia (1990)
The life and times of Brazil’s most popular musical icon, in a documentary directed by Francis Hanly and Tim May
5.30–6.30 pm • AV Room

Friday 3 May

The Strange Luck of V.S. Naipaul (2008)
This honest, insightful documentary on T&T’s late Nobel laureate profiles the man behind the mask of literary genius. Directed by Adam Low
6–7.30 pm • AV Room

Saturday 4 May

Anthony Wall, pioneering UK director, talks to Lucy Hannah about the celebrated Arena documentary series and his life in film
2–3 pm • AV Room

C.L.R. James’s First Eleven (1986)
T&T’s great writer, political philosopher, and cricket enthusiast picks his all-time ultimate cricket team, in this short documentary directed by Charlie Pattinson
3–3.30 pm • AV Room

Brixton to Barbados (1981)
Pioneering dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson leaves his home in London and travels to Barbados to experience Carifesta 1981. Directed by Anthony Wall
3.30–4.30 pm • AV Room


Wednesday 1 May

The art of the blurb, with celebrated UK editor and publisher Margaret Busby
2–3 pm • AV Room

Thursday 2 May

Writing as a stranger, with Nick Makoha
The Forward Prize-shortlisted UK poet leads a hand-on session exploring the “metic experience,” exploring issues of identity, race, and migration through the eyes of foreigners and exiles
1.30–4 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room

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