More Than A Literary Festival

NGC Bocas Lit Fest celebrates “Fantastic Friday”

“What we think of as unimaginable is simply real life for others, both far away and on our very doorstep,” says Karen Lord. The Barbadian author, whose latest novel The Blue, Beautiful World was recently longlisted for The Women’s Prize for Fiction, will be part of a special lineup of events at the 2024 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, focused on speculative fiction and fantasy (SFF).

Dubbed Fantastic Friday — running all day on Friday 26 April — the series explores how contemporary authors use these genres set in other worlds and other times to tackle burning issues of the here and now. Other authors in the lineup include Kevin Jared Hosein – 2024 Winner of the OCM Bocas Prize for Fiction, Caribbean-Canadian Premee Mohamed, Jamaican-Canadian Zalika Reid-Benta, and Nigerian-British Irenosen Okojie, founder of the Black to the Future festival in the UK.

“SFF teaches us to imagine the best and the worst, worlds changed beyond recognition,” says Lord, who will return to the NGC Bocas Lit Fest for the first time since 2019. “We must train our imaginations!” She will appear alongside Mohamed in a 10.30 am session in the Old Fire Station, where both authors will read from and discuss their books.

Other Fantastic Friday events include writing workshops — one of which is aimed specifically at secondary school students — an open mic for SFF authors of all levels, and a New Talent Showcase event featuring four up-and-coming T&T authors of the fantasy genre: Dixie-Ann Belle, Jolanda Charles, Janine Mendes-Franco, and Vindhar Suraj.

Popular with readers of all ages, SFF is a special favourite of younger audiences, and several Fantastic Friday events are aimed at teenagers and young adults. The festival is working with the Ministry of Education to invite secondary school students to participate, and additional support comes from the JB Fernandes Memorial Trust, who sponsor the Bocas Lit Fest’s year-round We Lit programme for young writers and readers.

For SFF fans, Fantastic Friday is a chance to hear from and meet some of the most exciting writers in the genre at work today, with books available for sale and authors doing book signings after each event.

And for the writers themselves, it’s a chance to meet their peers, share ideas, and glean inspiration for the future. “It’s thrilling to encounter so many award-winning authors in one space,” says Lord. “The conversations I have at Bocas with friends and colleagues are the best.”

Fantastic Friday is just one component of the four-day 2024 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, which includes dozens more writers of all genres and a packed programme of readings, performances, workshops, and more. Almost all events are free and open to all. The National Library and Old Fire Station will once more be the festival headquarters, with evening events at other venues across Port of Spain.

The full festival programme is online at

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.


Fantastic Friday schedule

All events take place at the National Library and Old Fire Station in downtown Port of Spain


Genre fiction 101, with Kevin Jared Hosein

A special interactive writing workshop for teens! Are you a lover of fantasy, speculative fiction, or horror? A secret or not so secret writer of fan fiction? And ready to take your writing to the next level? The winner of the 2024 OCM Bocas Prize for Fiction offers practical tips and exercises to help you expand your writing imagination.

10 am–12 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room

Requires registration via schools; email [email protected]


SFF writers Karen Lord (The Blue, Beautiful World, longlisted for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Fiction) and Premee Mohamed (No One Will Come Back for Us) kick off our special day of events focused on Caribbean speculative fiction and fantasy, with readings and conversation with Akilah White

10.30–11.30 am • Old Fire Station


It’s a special version of our popular open mic event, just for writers of speculative fiction and fantasy! Hosted by Jayron Remy

12.30–1.30 pm • Abercromby Street Arcade


SFF writer Irenosen Okojie (Nudibranch) reads from her tales of strange realities, and talks about her Afrofuturist festival Black to the Future — with host Brandon O’Brien

1–2 pm • Old Fire Station


World-building 101, with Premee Mohamed

Creating a convincing and coherent imaginary world is a key task for all fiction writers — and especially those writing speculative fiction and fantasy. Where do you start, and what are the key techniques of imagination and craft?

1.30–3 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room

Registration required • $100


Meet four up-and-coming fantasy writers from Trinidad and Tobago, and hear from their works in progress! Featuring Dixie-Ann Belle, Jolanda Charles, Janine Mendes-Franco, and Vindhar Suraj

2–3 pm • Old Fire Station


SFF writers R.S.A. Garcia (The Nightward) and Zalika Reid-Benta (River Mumma) explore reinventing traditional Caribbean folklore for a new generation of fantasy readers, in conversation with Breanne Mc Ivor

3–4 pm • Old Fire Station

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