More Than A Literary Festival

Ingrid Persaud to launch new novel at NGC Bocas Lit Fest

“This has been my story to write,” says Ingrid Persaud of her new novel The Lost Love Songs of Boysie Singh. Hotly anticipated after the international success of Love After Love — which won Persaud the 2020 Costa Book Award for Best First Novel — The Lost Love Songs of Boysie Singh will be published next month, and Persaud will be a headline author at the 2024 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, running from 25 to 28 April.

Set in Trinidad in the 1940s and 50s, The Lost Love Songs of Boysie Singh tells the story of the notorious gangster, hanged in 1957 for murder — and four women whose lives were shaped by proximity to him. Through the distinctive and compelling voices of Popo, Mana Lala, Doris, and Rosie, Persaud writes a story of persistence and survival that is also a portrait of a society in rapid evolution.

Now based in Britain, Trinidad-born Persaud will return for the Caribbean launch of the book, appearing at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest on Saturday 27 April, in the midst of a packed programme of events.

“Although Boysie Singh was executed well before my birth, the terror he invoked stalked my childhood,” says Persaud. “Every time I touched the text, it touched back. Within my own family in Cedros I uncovered stories. And there was the time Boysie Singh preached to a crowd outside my maternal great-grandmother’s shop in Arouca.”

She adds: “I went initially to learn about one notorious man, and I came away with a far richer understanding and empathy for the women who made me what I am today.”

The 2024 NGC Bocas Lit Fest includes several sessions featuring new books — both fiction and non-fiction — that reflect on, revisit, or reinterpret aspects of Caribbean history. In addition to Persaud, festival attendees can look forward to seeing and hearing authors like Trinidadian-Canadians Dionne 

Brand and Rabindranath Maharaj, Haitian-American Edwidge Danticat, and St. Lucian-Canadian Canisia Lubrin — all acclaimed prizewinners. Other highlights are the launch of new books by the late Professor Gordon Rohlehr and Seepersad Naipaul, as well as a showcase of new authors, a special focus on speculative fiction, plus a rich array of discussions, performances, workshops, and more.

For Caribbean writers living outside the region, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest is an opportunity to reconnect with audiences at home. “The Lost Love Songs of Boysie Singh is a book about Trinidad, and it is only right and proper that it should be launched at Bocas a mere three days after UK publication,” says Ingrid Persaud. “I can’t wait to find out what people think of it. Hopefully it will be the start of more conversations about women in our society, about crime, and about our history.”

Her message to readers in T&T? “Everything I write is a barely disguised love letter to Trinidad.”

The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago is title sponsor of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest; OCM, First Citizens, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, and the British Council are main sponsors; Massy Foundation, UWI, and the JB Fernandes Memorial Trust are sponsors.

Take Two

Ingrid Persaud (The Lost Love Songs of Boysie Singh) and Soraya Palmer (The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter & Other Essential Ghosts) share their new novels about tempestuous families, dangerous loves, and a longing for freedom, in conversation with Teresa White.

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
 Old Fire Station, NALIS

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