The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

2019 Prize is open for submissions

The 2019 OCM Bocas Prize is open for submissions

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 Be a new work, previously unpublished in book form (though collections including poems, stories, essays, or other short pieces that have individually appeared in print in periodicals or anthologies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).

Books published before 31 October, 2018, must be delivered to the Bocas Lit Fest (or judges, where applicable) by 14 November, 2018. ONLY books published between 31 October and 31 December, 2018, will be accepted for entry by the second deadline, 9 January, 2019. Eligible books that arrive after each deadline date will not be considered.

Click to download the OCM Bocas Prize 2019 guidelines and entry form.  *These guidelines have been updated for the 2019 OCM Bocas Prize. Please read carefully..  

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

2018 OCM Bocas Prize winner

Curfew Chronicles, a collection of linked short stories by writer Jennifer Rahim of Trinidad and Tobago, has been named the winner of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

2018 OCM Bocas Prize shortlist

books shortlisted for 2018 ocm bocas prize

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

2018 OCM Bocas Prize longlist

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

Judges for the 2018 Prize

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


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


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

Maya Jaggi   Author and critic, United Kingdom

Kei Miller   Author, Jamaica; based in United Kingdom


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

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)