Bocas Lit Fest

Bocas Emerging Writers Fellowship

Seeking out new literary talent and supporting budding writers has been high on the Bocas Lit Fest’s agenda from the start. As 2021 draws to a close, we are delighted to announce two new Bocas Emerging Writers Fellowships, to be awarded simultaneously in 2022 to early-career Caribbean-based writers in English.

Each fellowship includes a cash award of TT$10,000; six months’ mentorship from an established author; participation in a one-week intensive online writing workshop hosted by Arvon (UK); and the publication by Peekash Press of a chapbook with an excerpt from the writer’s work in progress.

These fellowships — one each in prose (fiction or non-fiction) and poetry — were launched during A Map to the Door of No Return at 20: A Gathering, a virtual conference hosted by York University, Toronto, from 3 to 6 November, 2021, marking the twentieth anniversary of Dionne Brand’s landmark book.

First published in 2001, A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging is recognised as a classic of recent Caribbean literature, and an influence on two generations of Caribbean and Black diaspora writers. Bringing together autobiography, history, travel writing, philosophy, poetry, and literary criticism, this genre-crossing narrative composed of fragments is indeed a map through which to explore and imagine questions of personal and collective identity and responsibility, the legacies of colonialism, the Black diaspora experience, and ideas of belonging, displacement, and home.

The Bocas Emerging Writers Fellowships are intended to support early-career Caribbean writers whose work explores similar questions, ideas, and genre-crossing forms. The fellowships will run for a period of six months, during which both writers will receive support in advancing or completing a book manuscript or other body of work.

The fellowships opened for applications on 6 November, 2021. The application deadline is 6 December, 2021, at midnight TT time. Successful applicants will be announced in January 2022, with the fellowship terms running from March to August 2022.

The fellowships are made possible by generous donations from Canisia Lubrin, winner of the overall 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature; Dionne Brand, winner of the 2019 OCM Bocas Prize in the fiction category; Christina Sharpe, judge for the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize in the fiction category; and Allyson Holder.

For any queries about eligibility requirements or the application process, please contact the fellowship administrators at awards@bocaslitfest.com.

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