This is the twelfth year of the festival, the largest annual literary event in the Anglophone Caribbean — also its eleventh year with the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC) as title sponsor, and its third year presenting a virtual programme, running from Thursday 28 April to Sunday 1 May, streaming online via YouTube, Facebook, and the festival website.
With twenty events and almost 100 participants, the 2022 NGC Bocas Lit Fest includes readings, discussions, and performances featuring writers and others whose work grapples with the immense changes we are living through, and the essential changes we urgently need in order to create a more just and more liveable world.
Each of the four festival evenings has its own thematic focus — from reconsidering essential figures of the past and exploring the power of the written word to seeking out untold stories and tackling difficult but crucial topics.
Highlights include a discussion of the legacies of the late Guyanese activist and writer Andaiye, the launch of a major new biography of the intellectual icon C.L.R. James, and a celebration of LGBTQI+ voices from across the region. A “Big Idea” panel bringing together climate scientists and sustainable development activists will debate what “A future we can live with” might look like for the Caribbean.
Literature lovers can look forward to hearing from the celebrated Jamaican poets Olive Senior and Pamela Mordecai, T&T’s own beloved novelist Merle Hodge, a panel of poets exploring recent developments in the Puerto Rican literary scene, and the debut author Ayanna Lloyd Banwo in the Caribbean launch of her already acclaimed novel When We Were Birds.
And the 2022 winner of the most coveted award for Caribbean writing, the OCM Bocas Prize, will be announced on Saturday 30 April at a virtual ceremony, featuring readings by the three shortlisted authors, Celeste Mohammed of T&T and Jamaicans Kei Miller and Jason Allen-Paisant.
The festival’s popular Stand and Deliver sessions, a longtime programme fixture, will give writers of all levels a chance to present their work, and a new “Required Reading” series will put the spotlight on key recently published books.
Meanwhile, the festival weekend will also bring the launch of the NGC Children’s Bocas Lit Fest’s new YouTube channel, a dedicated home for engaging Caribbean content for younger readers, from read-alouds to musical performances and workshops. The new children’s channel, launching on Saturday 30 April, will offer convenient on-demand programming which children can watch and re-watch on their own schedule, with new content added throughout the year.
The NGC Bocas Lit Fest’s 2022 “season of change” opened in January with a special edition of the festival’s ongoing Pavement Poets video showcase, and continues with the current seventh season of the Bios & Bookmarks author interview series, running until 21 April with the theme “A Change Is Gonna Come.” The festival weekend’s “Four Days to Change the World” are the culmination of this programme, encompassing needful change in all its forms — cultural and social, individual and collective.
NGC is the title sponsor of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, OCM, First Citizens, and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts are main sponsors, Massy Foundation and UWI are sponsors.