Bocas Lit Fest

Two writers from Trinidad and Tobago have won the 2022 Bocas Emerging Writers Fellowships, enabling them to advance or complete their debut books.

Jannine Horsford has been named the Bocas Emerging Writers Fellow for poetry, and Rajiv Ramkhalawan is the successful Fellow in the prose category.

Over 100 writers from seven different Caribbean territories applied for the two fellowships, and 20 were shortlisted. The number of applicants makes this the most competitive award for emerging writers run by the Bocas Lit Fest in the past 12 years.

Horsford and Ramkhalawan will soon begin their respective six-month fellowships, which include a cash award of TT$10,000, mentorship by an established author, and the opportunity to participate in an intensive online workshop hosted by the UK literary organisation Arvon. Both writers will also have chapbooks of their work in progress published by Peekash Press.

The two successful fellows were selected after several rounds of assessment, with jurors including writers Andre Bagoo of T&T and Ann-Margaret Lim of Jamaica, as well as UK-based literary professionals Andrew Kidd, CEO of Arvon, and agent Chris Wellbelove. The jurors were chaired by Nicholas Laughlin, festival and programme director of the Bocas Lit Fest.

“The jurors found the process both challenging and gratifying,” says Laughlin. “Challenging because of the high quality and clear potential of so many of the applicants, and gratifying because it demonstrates once again how much fresh literary talent we have at home in the Caribbean region. There were dozens of voices among them who we hope and expect to hear from in the future.”

“These writers all demonstrate a mastery of language in service of an artistic vision or point of view,” comments juror Andre Bagoo. “Their writing samples provide glimpses of a future in which Caribbean literature is bolder, more exhilarating than ever.”

The Bocas Emerging Writers 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, friend and supporter of the Bocas Lit Fest.

The newly appointed fellows have both been pursuing their craft for years, and have published their work in various regional and international magazines. Jannine Horsford is an alumna of the Cropper Foundation Caribbean Writers’ Workshop, the Callaloo Writers’ Workshop, and the Moko Magazine Poetry Masterclass. In 2021, she was longlisted for the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize, administered by the Bocas Lit Fest. Rajiv Ramkhalawan, an attorney, was awarded the 2020 Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize by the magazine The Caribbean Writer, and he was previously shortlisted for the Beacon Street Prize and the Perito Prize, both for short fiction, and longlisted for the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean, and the Fish Short Story Prize.

Horsford and Ramkhalawan will present samples of their work in progress during the 2022 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Four Days to Change the World, streaming online from Thursday 28 April to Sunday 1 May.

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.

Scroll to Top