Bocas Lit Fest

Two dozen Caribbean and diaspora writers will be in the spotlight as the NGC Bocas Lit Fest launches its first ever British tour.

Visiting five cities across the UK between 26 October and 3 November, the Bocas UK Tour 2022 will feature outstanding authors of all genres, including a slew of recent prizewinners.

Since its inaugural festival in 2011, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, based in Trinidad and Tobago, has won an international reputation as the leading annual showcase for Caribbean books and writers. Now the Bocas UK Tour 2022 — originally planned to mark the festival’s 10th anniversary, but postponed due to COVID-19 — will showcase the vibrant diversity of contemporary Caribbean writing, with a lineup including the last two winners of the OCM Bocas Prize alongside authors of some of 2022’s most anticipated books.

The tour begins on 26 October in Leicester, and continues with events in Norwich (at the National Centre for Writing) and Leeds (at the University of Leeds Poetry Centre), concluding on 3 November at the Belfast International Art Festival. The main event on Saturday 29 October, at the British Library in London, is a day’s programme of readings, discussions, and performances, tackling themes from personal and collective histories, to fraught questions about belonging and “home”.

British audiences will finally have the opportunity to encounter 2022 OCM Bocas Prize winner Celeste Mohammed of Trinidad and Tobago, with her debut book of fiction Pleasantview, and 2021 winner Canisia Lubrin from St. Lucia, whose poetry collection The Dyzgraphxst has won numerous accolades in the Caribbean and North America.

Acclaimed Barbadian speculative fiction writer Karen Lord, poet Celia Sorhaindo of Dominica, and Trinidadian authors of two newly published memoirs — The Stranger Who Was Myself by Barbara Jenkins and Love The Dark Days by Ira Mathur — will join the tour.

UK-based Caribbean writers also in the programme, include the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry awardee Grace Nichols, Costa Book Award winners Monique Roffey and Ingrid Persaud, Jhalak Prize winner Jacob Ross, Forward Prize shortlistee Anthony Joseph, and 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry winner Jason Allen-Paisant. The full programme of events is available online.

“When so many landmark writers’ careers have been made in Britain and continue to be, and given that it has been a place of memory, reference, and imagination for so many of our writers for so long, bringing our writers from the Caribbean back to Britain felt like a fitting thing to do,”  says Bocas Lit Fest founder Marina Salandy-Brown.

The Bocas tour includes both ticketed events — in London, Norwich, and Belfast — and free ones, in Leicester and Leeds. The British Library programme will also be livestreamed, allowing audiences at home in the Caribbean to tune in.

Bocas UK 2022 is made possible through our venue partners and the financial support of an array of other partners and sponsors: the Hollick Family Foundation, the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC), One Caribbean Media (OCM), the British Council, the Windham-Campbell Prizes, the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment, Commonwealth Writers, and the government of Trinidad and Tobago. Independent publishers Jacaranda Books and Peepal Tree Press are partners, and Renaissance One is associate producer.

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