Bocas Lit Fest

The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is an annual award for literary books by Caribbean writers, first presented in 2011. Books are judged in three categories: poetry; fiction — both novels and collections of short stories; and literary non-fiction — including books of essays, biography and autobiography, history, current affairs, travel, and other genres, which demonstrate literary qualities and use literary techniques, regardless of subject matter.

There is a panel of three judges for each genre category, who determine category shortlists and winners. 

The three category winners are then judged by a panel of four judges — consisting of the chairs of the category panels and the prize chair — who determine the overall winner. 

The author of the book judged the overall winner will receive an award of US$10,000. The other category winners will receive US$3,000.

To be eligible for entry for the 2022 prize, a book must:

  1. Have been first published in the calendar year 2021 (1 January to 31 December);
  2. 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;
  3. Have been written by an author who is living on 31 December, 2021;
  4. Have been written and first published in English originally (i.e. translations are not eligible);
  5. Be a new work, previously unpublished in book form (though collections including poems, stories, essays, or other short pieces that have individually appeared in print in periodicals or anthologies are eligible).

Deadline for books published before 31 October, 2021, is 8 November, 2021. Books published between 31 October and 31 December, 2021, are accepted for entry by the second deadline, 7 January, 2022.  

Download the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize Guidelines

Please download and review the updated eligibility and entry guidelines before making a submission through the online entry form below.

2022 ELIGIBILITY & ENTRY GUIDELINES

Books must be entered by their publishers (though judges may call in further books at their discretion).

• There is no requirement for publishers of eligible books to be located in the Caribbean.

•Books must be available for purchase in hardcopy, i.e. books that are only available as e-books are not eligible.

• Publishers must complete the online entry form for each title, and upload a PDF of the final book file.

• Publishers must also provide five physical copies of each title entered, sent by a reliable courier to The Bocas Lit Fest (or one copy to any judges based in the same country and others to The Bocas Lit Fest).

• Publishers must agree to provide a further six copies of shortlisted titles.

• Self-published books may be submitted by their authors, following the same procedure outlined for publishers. Self-published authors should provide their own contact information on the entry form.

• Each publisher may enter a maximum of five books per category (poetry, fiction, non-fiction), for a maximum of fifteen titles per publisher. A book may be entered in only one category. Publishers must get authors’ consent for entry.

• There is an entry fee of US$35 (TT$240) per title. We accept online credit card payments via WiPay Caribbean (recommended for Caribbean payments) and PayPal (recommended for international payments). We can also accept US dollar bank drafts (drawn on American banks only) made payable to The Bocas Lit Fest and posted using a reliable international courier service with a tracking number. Please select your payment option in the online form. Note: Trinidad and Tobago authors or publishers can pay in local currency via online bank transfer.

• Each entry should be accompanied by a short biographical note on the author. Publishers must also provide digital photos of shortlisted authors.

• Books will be accepted for entry at the discretion of The Bocas Lit Fest. Decisions on eligibility are final.

• Books published before 31 October, 2021, must be delivered to the Bocas Lit Fest (or directly to judges, where applicable) by 8 November, 2021. ONLY books published between 31 October and 31 December, 2021, will be accepted for entry by the second deadline, 7 January, 2022. Eligible books that arrive after each deadline date will not be considered and entry fees will not be returned. There will be no exceptions to this rule.

• Publishers must send the books by courier to the Bocas Lit Fest to guarantee timely arrival and onward dispatch to judges:

Marina Salandy-Brown
Attn: OCM Bocas Prize
38 Coblentz Avenue
Cascade, Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago
Telephone: 1 (868) 222 7099

However, if a publisher is located in the same country as one of the category judge(s), one copy of the relevant title should be sent directly to that judge. Other copies should be sent to the Bocas Lit Fest at the above stated address.

Please contact the prize administrators at info@bocaslitfest.com for the names and locations of relevant judges.

• The 2022 prize longlist will be announced in March 2022. The shortlist will be announced in April 2022. The overall winner will be announced at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival in Port of Spain, 22 – 24 April 2022.

• Publishers must agree that extracts from shortlisted books may be published in the Trinidad and Tobago Daily and Sunday Express newspapers, and any other print or digital prize publications for the purpose of promoting the winning titles and the OCM Bocas Prize.

• Publishers should notify authors of titles entered for the prize that the three category winners may be invited to attend and participate in the Festival and the award ceremony in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and are expected to be featured in a filmed interview.

• Category winners and the overall winner of the OCM Bocas Prize are expected to be willing to represent the Prize at international festivals and other fora if invited to do so. Upon the publisher’s submission of an entry, it will be understood by the Bocas Lit Fest that the author has agreed to this condition of entry.

• Publishers must use a reliable international courier (not regular air mail) to send entries, to ensure prompt delivery. The content of the package should be described on the Air waybill and in the commercial invoice as “unsolicited printed matter” of “0 retail value”.

2022 OCM Bocas Prize Entry Form

"*" indicates required fields

Step 1 of 4

Address of publisher*
Contact name*
Contact email address*

For any queries about eligibility requirements or the submission process, please contact the prize administrators at info@bocaslitfest.com

Definition of the Caribbean

For the purposes of the OCM Bocas Prize, the Caribbean is defined as including the following countries and territories:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • French Guiana
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Montserrat
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saba
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Martin/Sint Maarten
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos
  • US Virgin Islands

NB: books entered for the OCM Bocas Prize must be originally written and published in English.

The 2021 Prize Winners

2021 OCM Bocas Prize shortlist book covers

In April 2021, the judges for the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature  announced that The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin was the overall winner. The shortlist for the 2021 prize was made up of the winners in the three genre categories:

POETRY
The Dyzgraphxst, by Canisia Lubrin (McClelland & Stewart)

FICTION
These Ghosts Are Family, by Maisy Card (Simon & Schuster)

NON-FICTION
The Undiscovered Country
, by Andre Bagoo (Peepal Tree Press)

Past Winners

The Dyzgraphxst

By Canisia Lubrin

Published By McClelland & Stewart

2021 Overall Winner (Poetry)

The Undiscovered Country

By Andre Bagoo

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2021 Non-fiction Winner

These Ghosts Are Family

By Maisy Card

Published By Simon & Schuster

2021 Fiction Winner

Epiphaneia

By Richard Georges

Published By Out Spoken Press

2020 Overall Winner (Poetry)

Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging

By Tessa McWatt

Published By Scribe Publications

2020 Non-Fiction Winner

Everything Inside

By Edwidge Danticat

Published By Alfred A. Knopf

2020 Fiction Winner

Doe Songs

By Danielle Boodoo-Fortune

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2019 Poetry Winner

High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture

By Kevin Adonis Browne

Published By University Press of Mississippi

2019 Overall Winner (Non-Fiction)

Theory

By Dionne Brand

Published By Alfred A. Knopf

2019 Fiction Winner

Madwoman

By Shara McCallum

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2018 Poetry Winner

Curfew Chronicles

By Jennifer Rahim

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2018 Overall Winner (Fiction)

Cannibal

By Safiya Sinclair

Published By University of Nebraska Press

2017 Poetry Winner

Augustown

By Kei Miller

Published By Weidenfeld & Nicolson

2017 Overall Winner (Fiction)

A Walk Back in Time: Snapshots of the History of Trinidad and Tobago

By Angelo Bissessarsingh

Published By Queen Bishop Publishing

2017 Non-Fiction Winner

Wife

By Tiphanie Yanique

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2016 Poetry Winner

The Pain Tree

By Olive Senior

Published By Cormorant Books

2016 Overall Winner (Fiction)

The Gymnast and Other Positions

By Jacqueline Bishop

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2016 Non-Fiction Winner

Sounding Ground

By Vladimir Lucien

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2015 Overall Winner (Poetry)

Dying to Better Themselves: West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal

By Olive Senior

Published By UWI Press

2015 Non-Fiction Winner

A Brief History of Seven Killings

By Marlon James

Published By Riverhead Books

2015 Fiction Winner

Oracabessa

By Lorna Goodison

Published By Carcanet Press

2014 Poetry Winner

As Flies to Whatless Boys

By Robert Antoni

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2014 Overall Winner (Fiction)

Writing Down the Vision: Essays and Prophecies

By Kei Miller

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2014 Non-Fiction Winner

Fault Lines

By Kendel Hippolyte

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2013 Poetry Winner

Archipelago

By Monique Roffey

Published By Simon & Schuster

2013 Overall Winner (Fiction)

The Sky’s Wild Noise: Selected Essays

By Rupert Roopnaraine

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2013 Non-Fiction Winner

The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman

Published By Peepal Tree Press

2012 Poetry Winner

Is Just a Movie

By Earl Lovelace

Published By Faber & Faber

2012 Overall Winner (Fiction)

George Price: A Life Revealed

By Godfrey P. Smith

Published By Ian Randle Publishers

2012 Non-Fiction Winner

White Egrets

By Derek Walcott

Published By Farrar, Straus and Giroux

2011 Overall Winner (Poetry)

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