The Bocas Emerging Writers Fellowships, to be awarded simultaneously in 2022, are a pair of one-time fellowships for emerging Caribbean-based writers in English, in two categories: prose (fiction or non-fiction) and poetry. The fellowships were launched during A Map to the Door of No Return at 20: A Gathering, a virtual conference hosted by York University, Toronto, from 3 to 6 November, 2021, marking the twentieth anniversary of Dionne Brand’s landmark book.
First published in 2001, A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging is recognised as a classic of recent Caribbean literature, and an influence on two generations of Caribbean and Black diaspora writers. Bringing together autobiography, history, travel writing, philosophy, poetry, and literary criticism, this genre-crossing narrative composed of fragments is indeed a map through which to explore and imagine questions of personal and collective identity and responsibility, the legacies of colonialism, the Black diaspora experience, and ideas of belonging, displacement, and home.
The Bocas Emerging Writers Fellowships are intended to support early-career Caribbean writers whose work explores similar questions, ideas, and genre-crossing forms. The fellowships will run for a period of six months, during which both writers will receive support in advancing or completing a book manuscript or other body of work.
The fellowships are made possible by generous donations from Canisia Lubrin, winner of the overall 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature; Dionne Brand, winner of the 2019 OCM Bocas Prize in the fiction category; Christina Sharpe, judge for the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize in the fiction category; and Allyson Holder.
Each fellowship consists of:
- A cash award of TT$10,000;
- Six months’ mentorship from an established author;
- Publication of a chapbook with an excerpt from the writer’s work in progress;
- Participation in a one-week intensive online writing workshop hosted by Arvon (UK)