The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

The longlist for the 2019 Prize will be announced in March


The 2019 OCM Bocas Prize is now closed for submissions. The judges for the Prize will announce a longlist in March 2019.

To be eligible for entry for the 2019 prize, a book must:

  1. Have been first published in the calendar year 2018 (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, 2018;
  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 Be a new work, previously unpublished in book form (though collections including poems, stories, essays, or other short pieces that have individually appeared in print in periodicals or anthologies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).


The judges for the 2019 Prize are:


Marina Warner (UK)


Geoffrey Philp, Chair (Jamaica/US)
Andre Bagoo (T&T)
Nicole Sealey (USVI/US)


Jane Bryce, Chair (Tanzania/Barbados)
Marcia Douglas (Jamaica/US)
Schuyler Esprit (Dominica)


Gary Younge, Chair (UK)
Ivette Romero (Puerto Rico/US)
Brinsley Samaroo (T&T)




About the OCM Bocas Prize

This 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$3,00

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.”

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


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


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)