The winner of the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is Epiphaneia, by Richard Georges.
The announcement was made on 2 May, 2020, via live online video. Watch the archived video here:
The 2020 OCM Bocas Prize Shortlist
Epiphaneia, by Richard Georges (Out-spoken Press).
Everything Inside, by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf).
Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging, by Tessa McWatt (Scribe).
The final cross-genre judging panel for the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize is chaired by Earl Lovelace, Trinidad and Tobago’s revered author and himself a past winner. He is joined by the respective chairs of the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction panels: literary scholar Laurence A. Breiner, linguist and novelist Barbara Lalla, and historian Bridget Brereton.
The overall winner was announced on Saturday 2 May, 2020, during a special online event hosted by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.
The 2020 OCM Bocas Prize Longlist
The judges for the OCM Bocas Prize have chosen a longlist of nine books: three each from the three genre categories.
Honeyfish, by Lauren K. Alleyne (Peepal Tree Press)
Skin Can Hold, by Vahni Capildeo (Carcanet Press)
Epiphaneia, by Richard Georges (Out-spoken Press)
The Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins (Viking UK)
Everything Inside, by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf)
A Tall History of Sugar, by Curdella Forbes (Akashic)
Moments of Cooperation and Incorporation: African American and African Jamaican Connections, 1782–1996, by Erna Brodber (University of the West Indies Press)
Beyond Coloniality: Citizenship and Freedom in the Caribbean Intellectual Tradition, by Aaron Kamugisha (Indiana University Press)
Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging, by Tessa McWatt (Scribe)
About the 2020 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.
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 awards of US$3,000.
To be eligible for the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize, a book must:
- Have been first published in the calendar year 2019 (1 January to 31 December);
- 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;
- Have been written by an author who is living on 31 December, 2019;
- Have been written and first published in English originally (i.e. translations are not eligible);
- 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).
For full eligibility and submission guidelines, download the OCM Bocas Prize 2020 Guidelines and Entry Form.
Books published before 31 October 2019 must be delivered to The Bocas Lit Fest by 13 November 2019. Only books published between 31 October and 31 December 2019 will be accepted for entry by the second deadline, 8 January 2020.
Judges for the 2020 Prize
Earl Lovelace, Chief Judge Author, Trinidad & Tobago
Laurence Breiner, Chair Author and scholar, United States
Sandeep Parmar, Poet and scholar, United Kingdom
Rajiv Mohabir, Poet, United States
Barbara Lalla, Chair Author and scholar, Jamaica/ Trinidad &Tobago
Sharon Leach Author, Jamaica
Candida Lacey Publisher, United Kingdom
Bridget Brereton, Chair Author and scholar, Trinidad and Tobago
Grace Aneiza Ali Curator, writer and editor, Guyana (based in the United States)
Ursula Owen Publisher andeditor, United Kingdom
OCM Bocas Prize Winners 2011 - 2019
POETRY: Doe Songs, by Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné (Peepal Tree Press)
FICTION:Theory, by Dionne Brand (Penguin Random House Canada)
NON-FICTION & OVERALL WINNER: High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture, by Kevin Adonis Browne (University Press of Mississippi)
POETRY: Madwoman, by Shara McCallum (Peepal Tree Press/Alice James Books)
FICTION & OVERALL WINNER: Curfew Chronicles, by Jennifer Rahim (Peepal Tree Press)
NON-FICTION: There was 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.”
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)