Six writers from across the Caribbean have been longlisted for the inaugural Bocas Children’s Book Prize, with tales that bring magic, folklore, and real historical events to life for the region’s young readers.

The prize, sponsored by the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC), is the first of its kind, recognising Caribbean books for young independent readers aged 7-12, and emerged from the observation of the sparsity of books coming out of the region for children at that critical reading age.

Of the six writers up for the award, three are from Jamaica, while the other three are from Haiti, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

The judges’ longlist selections are now before a young reader, 14-year old Clarisse Kem Lee-Sing, who will make comments and help select the shortlist, which will be announced later this month. 

Head Judge, Joan Osborne, renowned storyteller and retired deputy Executive Director at NALIS, commented that the selection process “was similar to trying to select six of the most beautiful flowers from a garden of rare blooms. Caribbean literature for young readers, while it is growing, is still not in great abundance, so the delicate offerings from our talented writers must be appreciated”.

See the full longlist and find out more about the prize here.

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