Bocas News

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Prize-winning author Monique Roffey and critically acclaimed poet Shivanee Ramlochan kick off a milestone year for the Bocas Lit Fest at The Writers Centre in Port of Spain.

On the weekend of January 18-19, the Bocas Lit Fest, now in its 10th year, will facilitate training for aspiring and emerging writers of fiction and poetry with two of this country’s top writers in both genres.

Roffey, 2013 winner of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and shortlisted for the Orange Prize (2010), the Orion Award (2014) and the COSTA Fiction Award (2015), is the author of six books, with her seventh due for release this April. A TT national, Roffey is a lecturer on the MA/MFA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University, and tutor for the Norwich Writers Centre in the UK.

Arts reporter and book reviewer and blogger Ramlochan distinguished herself with her debut collection of poetry Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting, which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection in 2018. She has participated in several international fellowships and residencies in the US and the UK since 2017.

Ramlochan’s two-part poetry masterclass “Poetry as Ferocity: Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty” will take place on Sundays, January 12 & 19. According to Ramlochan, we will seek to answer the questions, “What subterranean secrets lie buried in your own creative life? How can you excise the marrow of the poem, and grow stronger roots for your poems to anchor themselves?” Participants are required to attend both sessions.

The first in Roffey’s “Beyond the First Draft” literary craft studio series on January 18 will explore the following and more: Could your short story be a novel? Is your novel too short, or even way too long? Backstory/where to start your story. The remaining two studios in this series are set for April 29 and May 9. Participants are free to register for one or more.

Marina Salandy-Brown says, “This is just the start of what we have planned for 2020. We’re marking 10 years of developing and promoting Caribbean writing and writers. It’s a celebration of words, stories and ideas with our partners, sponsors and literature-lovers, all year long and I am pleased to do so with two very gifted writers leading the way.”

The Bocas Lit Fest will officially launch its plans for its 10th year with an ‘open house’ event on January 22 at The Writers Centre, 14 Alcazar Street, St Clair. Everyone is welcome!