Bocas Lit Fest

Announcing the winner of the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize

The judges for the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature have announced that The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin is 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)

2021 OCM Bocas Prize shortlist book covers

The longlist for the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize included nine books in three genre categories:

POETRY
The Dyzgraphxst, by Canisia Lubrin (McClelland & Stewart)
Guabancex, by Celia Sorhaindo (Papillote Press)
Country of Warm Snow, by Mervyn Taylor (Shearsman)

FICTION
These Ghosts Are Family, by Maisy Card (Simon & Schuster)
Love After Love, by Ingrid Persaud (Faber UK/One World US)
The Mermaid of Black Conch, by Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree Press)

NON-FICTION
of colour, by Katherine Agyemaa Agard (Essay Press)
The Undiscovered Country, by Andre Bagoo (Peepal Tree Press)
Musings, Mazes, Muses, Margins, by Gordon Rohlehr (Peepal Tree Press)

2021 OCM Bocas Prize longlist book covers

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

The 2021 winner will be announced during the virtual NGC Bocas Lit Fest, 23 to 25 April, 2021.

Judges for the 2021 Prize

Overall Judge

Poetry

Fiction

Non-fiction

Past Winners

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)

Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work

By Edwidge Danticat

Published By Vintage Books

2011 Non-Fiction Winner

How to Escape from a Leper Colony

By Tiphanie Yanique

Published By Graywolf Press

2011 Fiction Winner

How to Escape from a Leper Colony: A Novella and Stories

By Tiphanie Yanique

Download and review the OCM Bocas Prize 2021 eligibility and entry guidelines for more information.

The OCM Bocas Prize requested both digital and print copies of each entry for 2021:  a PDF file of the book uploaded with the online entry form, and five copies of the book mailed via reliable courier to The Bocas Lit Fest.

Deadline for books published before 31 October, 2020, was 9 November, 2020. Books published between 31 October and 31 December, 2020, were accepted for entry by the second deadline, 8 January, 2021.

2021 PRIZE SUBMISSIONS CLOSED ON 8 JANUARY 2021. 

 

ELIGIBILITY & ENTRY GUIDELINES

  • Books must be entered by their publishers (though judges may call in further books at their discretion).
  • Books much 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 reliable courier to The Bocas Lit Fest.
  • Publishers must agree to provide a further eight 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.
  • There is no requirement for publishers of eligible books to be located in the Caribbean.
  • 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 can accept US dollar bank drafts (drawn on American banks only) made payable to The Bocas Lit Fest or credit card payments made online through WiPay Caribbean (link to pay sent once the entry form is received). Please select your payment option in the online form. Note: Trinidad and Tobago authors or publishers can pay in local currency.
  • 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, 2020, must be delivered to the Bocas Lit Fest (or directly to judges, where applicable) by 9 November, 2020. ONLY books published between 31 October and 31 December, 2020, will be accepted for entry by the second deadline, 8 January, 2021. 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 office to guarantee timely arrival and onward dispatch to judges:

Bocas Lit Fest
Attn: OCM Bocas Prize
14 Alcazar Street
St. Clair
Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: 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 2021 prize longlist will be announced in March 2021. The shortlist will be announced in April 2021. The overall winner will be announced at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival in Port of Spain, 23 – 25 April 2021.
  • Publishers must agree that extracts from shortlisted books may be published in the Trinidad and Tobago Daily and Sunday Express, for purposes of promoting the winning titles.
  • 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 record 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. Please confirm that the writer whose work is being submitted would be prepared to accept this condition of entry.
  • Publishers must use a reliable international courier (not regular air mail) to send entries, to ensure prompt delivery. The word “gift” must be marked on the air waybill and commercial invoice, and the description must clearly state that the books are “for review purposes only”.

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.

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