The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is a major award for literary books by Caribbean writers. Books may be entered in three categories: poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction. The prize includes an award of US$10,000, sponsored by One Caribbean Media. The other category winners receive US$3,000. The winner is announced at the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest at the end of April every year.

The OCM Bocas Prize has two stages. First, panels of distinguished judges select the best book in each of the three genre categories. Next, the chairs of the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction panels, joined by the overall chair and vice-chair of the prize, form a final prize jury to select the overall winner from the three genre winners.

To be eligible for the prize, a book must have been published in the past calendar year, and written by an author born in the Caribbean or holding Caribbean citizenship. Books must also have been originally written in English. 

The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature

Administered by the Bocas Lit Fest from 2013 – 2019, the CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature was awarded annually to three English-language literary works for young adults (aged 12 through 18) written by Caribbean authors. Established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been supporting literacy and learning for over 60 years –  with the generous support of the Literary Prizes Foundation and in partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest, the Award aimed to provide engaging and culturally-relevant books for young people across the Caribbean. Through the award and readership programme, more than 40,000 award-winning books have been donated to libraries, schools and community centres in 11 Caribbean territories.  Read more about the Burt Award at

The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize

The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize is an annual award, which allows an emerging Caribbean writer living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean to devote time to advancing or finishing a literary work, with support from an established writer as mentor. The prize is offered across three literary genres: fiction in 2019, non-fiction in 2020, and poetry in 2021.

The Prize consists of a cash award of TT$20,000 (or the equivalent in foreign currency), a year’s mentoring by an established writer, travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive Arvon creative writing course at one of Arvon’s internationally renowned writing houses, and three days in London to network with editors and publishers, hosted by Arvon, in association with the Free Word Centre and a leading London literary agency.

Bocas Henry Swanzy Award

In 2013, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest inaugurated a new annual lifetime achievement award to recognise service to Caribbean literature by editors, publishers, critics, broadcasters, and others. The Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters is named for the late BBC radio producer (1915–2004) who created a landmark platform for Caribbean writing in the 1940s and 50s through the Caribbean Voices programme, which broadcast fiction and poems by West Indian writers across the region.

Each year the NGC Bocas Lit Fest will honour Swanzy’s memory and recognise the achievements of other editors, broadcasters, and critics via the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award.

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