Bocas Lit Fest

About the Prize

The BLF Children’s Book Prize is a new prize that will be given to one outstanding English-language children’s book for young independent readers, written by a Caribbean author. This Prize seeks to recognise and celebrate excellent writing and intriguing storytelling that can capture young imaginations and help establish a lifelong love and habit of reading in our young Caribbean demographic.

In the first year, the Prize consists of a cash award of US$1,000, and Caribbean-born authors, resident anywhere in the world, of English-language books which have been published between January 2020 and July 2021 were eligible. The prize was open for entries from 1 May to 30 July 2021, and the first winner was announced in November 2021. 

The prize is administered by the Bocas Lit Fest, and supported by Unit Trust Corporation in Trinidad and Tobago

2021 Winner

When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten (Pushkin Children’s Books) 

2021 Shortlist

When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten (Pushkin Children’s Books) (JAMAICA)

Chaos in Castries by Carol Mitchell (Caribbean Reads Publishing) (ST KITTS & NEVIS)

A Different Me A Better You by Janet Morrison (Blue Banyan Books) (JAMAICA)

2021 Longlist

The Year I Flew Away by Marie Arnold (HarperCollins) (HAITI)

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (Scholastic Press) (U.S VIRGIN ISLANDS)

Lost in the Cockpit Country by Billy Elm (Blue Banyan Books) (JAMAICA)

When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten (Pushkin Children’s Books) (JAMAICA)

Chaos in Castries by Carol Mitchell (Caribbean Reads Publishing) (ST KITTS & NEVIS)

A Different Me A Better You by Janet Morrison (Blue Banyan Books) (JAMAICA)

2021 Judges

The prize is judged by an independent panel of children’s literature experts. The panel is joined by a young reader contributed to selecting the shortlist and winner from the size longlisted books.  

Chief Judge
  • Olive Senior, Author (Jamaica / Canada)
  • Johnny Temple, Publisher (USA)
  • Clarisse Kem Ellen Lee-Sing, Young Reader, age 14 (Trinidad & Tobago)

Eligibility & Entry Guidelines:

Works of fiction (including short story collections and books in verse), literary non-fiction and graphic novels written for independent readers ages 7 – 12 are eligible. Works of drama, multiple-author anthologies, picture books, textbooks or instructional manuals are not eligible. 

To be eligible for entry for the 2021 Prize, a book must:

  • Be a new, original work written for children between the ages 7 and 12 published for the first time in book form between 1 January 2020 and 30 July 2021. Self-published books are eligible, and there is no requirement for the publisher or author to be based in the Caribbean;
  • Have been written by a single author who either holds Caribbean citizenship or was born in the Caribbean (this must be verified by the publisher), regardless of current place of residence;
  • Have been written by an author who is living on 30 July 2021;
  • Have been written and first published in English (i.e. translations are not eligible);
  • Have an ISBN and be available for purchase in print (not e-book edition only); 
  • Tell the story primarily through prose. The book can include illustration, but should not rely primarily on visual storytelling and should have at least 1,500 words. 

How to Enter

  • Complete the online entry form and upload the final book file as a PDF that retains all book formatting. The book cover file can be submitted as a separate PDF.
  • Books may be entered by their publishers OR authors. The contact person identified on the entry form should be the person responsible for supplying copies of the book, should print copies be called in for judging or publicity.
  • Authors and/or publishers of shortlisted titles must agree to provide three physical copies of the book to the Bocas Lit Fest.
  • Each entry should be accompanied by a short biographical note on the author and a current headshot for publicity purposes.
  • Books will be accepted for entry at the discretion of the judging panel, who will determine questions of eligibility when necessary. Judges’ decisions on eligibility are final. 
  • There is a US$15 entry fee that must accompany each submission. This small fee is essential to supporting the proper administration of the prize.
  • Non-eligible books and their entry fees will not be returned.


There is an entry fee of US$15/TT$100 per title. The entry fee can be paid by:

  • Credit card payments via the online WiPay or Paypal platform 
  • US dollar bank drafts in amount of US$15 (routed through a US-based bank) made payable to The Bocas Lit Fest and mailed via reliable courier service. 
  • Trinidad and Tobago online bank transfers in the amount of TT$100.00. 

Please select your preferred payment method when submitting the online entry, and an invoice with details will be issued for payment. Payment must be received by the submissions deadline in order for the book to be eligible. 

The winner will be announced in November 2021. 


The publisher or author must submit the online form by 5:00PM on 30 July 2021.


For any queries about eligibility requirements or the submission process, please contact the prize administrators at:

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