More Than A Literary Festival

NGC Bocas Lit Fest celebrates Caribbean Voices

A stellar array of acclaimed authors will be in the lineup at the 2024 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, alongside debut and budding writers of all genres.

Trinidad and Tobago’s annual festival of books and writers, which is also the Anglophone Caribbean’s biggest annual literary event, launched its upcoming programme today.

Running from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 April, the festival — now in its 14th year — includes over 150 authors, speakers, and performers, in a packed schedule of events. Once again, the festival will be based at the National Library in downtown Port of Spain, with satellite venues around the city.

The packed programme, with events for adults, teens, and children, was formally launched at a media event this morning at the National Library, attended by authors and performers alongside festival sponsors and partners, including representatives of 2024 title sponsor The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC).

Festival and Programme Director Nicholas Laughlin emphasised the NGC Bocas Lit Fest’s focus on amplifying the work of Caribbean writers to a local and global audience. “Making a space for Caribbean stories and voices — here at home and in the world at large — is at the very core of our mission, our ethos, our passion, and our everyday work at the Bocas Lit Fest,” he said. “It’s what we do at the festival, and it’s why from the beginning we’ve worked so assiduously to seek out and develop new writing talent, and instigate opportunities for our writers.”

The lineup of festival authors announced includes celebrated figures like Haitian-American Edwidge Danticat, in her first-ever appearance at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest; Trinidadian-Canadian Dionne Brand; Indian novelist Geetanjali Shree, winner of the International Booker Prize; Barbadian Karen Lord and Jamaican Safiya Sinclair, both recently longlisted for The Women’s Prize for Fiction and Non-Fiction, respectively; and UK-based Trinidadian writer Ingrid Persaud, former winner of the Costa Book Award for Best First Novel, who will present her latest novel, hot off the press.

“Fantastic Friday”, a special programme of events on Friday 26 April, will focus on contemporary Caribbean fantasy, folklore, and speculative fiction, including readings and discussion panels, workshops, and a special open mic event — bringing this popular genre into the heart of the festival, and exploring how contemporary authors use these genres, set in other worlds and other times, to tackle burning issues of the here and now. SFF fans can look forward to hearing from writers Tobias S. Buckell, Premee Mohamed, Irenosen Okojie, and T&T’s own R.S.A. Garcia.

Also in the festival mix: the launch of a posthumous book by the late Professor Gordon Rohlehr and Amazing Scenes, a landmark collection of journalistic writing by Seepersad Naipaul, father of Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul.

Three “Big Idea” discussion panels will ask “how the most contentious ideological conflicts racking today’s world are rooted in unstable histories, why we need to make the study of the past more accessible, and whether newspapers still have a role in shaping intellectual development.”

Returning to the festival programme are longtime favourites like the Extempo Debate and Ole Mas competition, free Writers First seminars for budding authors, the eagerly anticipated Stand & Deliver open mic series, and a celebration of the legacy of the late T&T writer Michael Anthony, including a screening of the film version of his beloved novel Green Days by the River.

On Saturday 27 April, all eyes will be on the announcement of the winner of the 2024 OCM Bocas Prize, the most prestigious award for Caribbean writing, and on Sunday 28 April the First Citizens National Poetry Slam finals will bring the festival to a close.

Meanwhile, a full programme of fun activities for younger audiences kicked off earlier in March, as the NGC Children’s Storytelling Caravan visits venues across Trinidad and Tobago. On Thursday 25 April, the main NGC Children’s Bocas Lit Fest will open with two full days of activities at City Hall Auditorium, including storytelling, performances, and hands-on workshops, moving to the Children’s Library wing of the National Library for the festival weekend.

The 2024 NGC Bocas Lit Fest schedule is now available online at, with frequent news of Bocas Lit Fest events and projects posted on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @bocaslitfest.

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.

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