Bocas Lit Fest

Announcing the 2021 Winner

The winner of the 2021 Johnson & Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize is Desiree Seebaran of Trinidad & Tobago.


Three writers were shortlisted for the third and last edition of the Johnson & Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. This unique award is dedicated to advancing the work of an emerging Caribbean voice in the poetry genre.

The shortlisted writers are:

  • Akhim Alexis – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Jay T. John – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Desiree Seebaran – Trinidad & Tobago

The ten writers previously longlisted for the prize are:

  • Akhim Alexis – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Kamille Andrews – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Wendy Brewster – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Linda Deane – Barbados
  • Jannine T. Horsford –  Trinidad & Tobago
  • Jay T. John – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Kirese Narinesingh – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Derron Sandy – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Desiree Seebaran – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Scott Leon Ting-A-Kee – Guyana

About the 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 a mentor. The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize is sponsored by philanthropist Dr. Kongshiek Achong Low and administered by The Bocas Lit Fest and the literary charitable trust, Arvon. The first year was dedicated to fiction and was won by Jamaican writer Sharma Taylor. The second year was dedicated to non-fiction and was won by Trinidadian Amanda Choo Quan. 

In its third year, 2021, The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize will be awarded for a poetry work in progress. The prize was open to submissions from 23 July to 30 September 2020. The winner will be announced at the 2021 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

To be eligible for entry, a writer must:

    1. Be of Caribbean birth or citizenship, living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean and writing in English;
    2. Be over the age of 18 by 30 September, 2020
    3. Not have previously published a book-length work in the genre in which they are making a submission (poetry). 

The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize consists of:

  1. A cash award of US$3,000;
  2. A year’s mentoring by an established writer;
  3. Travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive Arvon creative writing course at one of Arvon’s internationally renowned writing houses;
  4. A three-day stay in London during which Arvon, in association with the Free Word Centre, will host an event that features the winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize;
  5. Aitken Alexander Associates, the London literary agency, has the option to agent the winning writer if they choose to do so. The writer is free to pursue other agents if this agency does not exercise the option.


The prize is named after Johnson and Amoy Achong and commemorates their lives as loyal and hardworking citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr. Kongshiek Achong Low, sponsor of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize, and Sharma Taylor, winner of the 2019 prize for fiction.

Amanda Choo Quan is the winner of the 2020 prize for non-fiction.

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