More Than A Literary Festival

OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

The 2024 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, sponsored by One Caribbean Media, owner of the Trinidad and Tobago Express newspaper, TV6, and the OCM radio network.
 
#OCMBocasPrize2024 #bocas2024
 

The Shortlist 2024

The judges for the 2024 OCM Bocas Prize have announced a shortlist and category winners in three genre categories:
Poetry
  • The Ferguson Report: An Erasure, by Nicole Sealey (Alfred A. Knopf/Bloodaxe Books)

Fiction

Non-fiction

  • How to Say Babylon: A Memoir, by Safiya Sinclair (Simon & Schuster/Fourth Estate)

The Longlist 2024

The judges for the 2024 OCM Bocas Prize have announced a longlist of nine books in three genre categories:
Poetry
 
  • The Ferguson Report: An Erasure, by Nicole Sealey (Alfred A. Knopf/Bloodaxe Books)

Fiction

  • Ocean Stirrings: A Work of Fiction in Tribute to Louise Langdon Norton Little, Working Mother and Activist, Mother of Malcolm X and Seven Siblings, by Merle Collins (Peepal Tree Press)

 

 

  • You Were Watching from the Sand, by Juliana Lamy (Red Hen Press)

Non-fiction

  • Harvesting Haiti: Reflections on Unnatural Disasters, by Myriam J.A. Chancy (University of Texas Press)

 

  • Equal to Mystery: In Search of Harold Sonny Ladoo, by Christopher Laird (Peepal Tree Press)

 

  • How to Say Babylon: A Memoir, by Safiya Sinclair (Simon & Schuster/Fourth Estate)

Awards and Prizes

These guidelines have been updated for the 2024 OCM Bocas Prize. Please read carefully.

The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, first presented in 2011, is an annual award for literary books by Caribbean writers. 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). Note: textbooks, technical books, pictorial coffee-table books, specialist publications, and reference works are not eligible.

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

The three category winners will then be judged by a panel of four judges — consisting of the chairs of the category panels and the prize chief judge — who will 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 2024 prize, a book must:

  1. Have been first published in the calendar year 2023 (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, 2023;
  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).

See Appendix 1 for a list of territories which constitute the Caribbean for the purposes of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

  • Books must be entered by their publishers (though judges may call in further books at their discretion).
  • 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.
  • Books must be available for purchase in printed form, 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. See below for details of where and how to ship books.
  • Publishers must agree to provide a further six copies of titles that are shortlisted by the judges.
  • 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$45 (TT$300) 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 or Paypal. Please select your payment option in the online form. Note: Trinidad and Tobago authors or publishers can pay in TT dollars.
  • 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, 2023, must be delivered to the Bocas Lit Fest (or directly to judges, where applicable) by 8 November, 2023. ONLY books published between 31 October and 31 December, 2023, will be accepted for entry by the second deadline, 8 January, 2024. 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 guarantee timely arrival.

Where to send books entered for the prize:

Publishers based in Trinidad and Tobago should send all copies to the Bocas Lit Fest to this address:

Marina Salandy-Brown
Bocas Lit Fest
38 Coblentz Avenue, Cascade

Trinidad and Tobago
160316

Telephone: 1 (868) 222 7099

Publishers based outside Trinidad and Tobago should send one copy each directly to the relevant three category judges. Please contact the prize administrators at [email protected] for the names and locations of relevant judges.

A further two copies should be sent to the Bocas Lit Fest at the above stated address.

Publishers must use a reliable international courier (not regular air mail) to send entries to T&T, to ensure prompt delivery. The air waybill and commercial invoice should be clearly labelled “for educational purposes / no commercial value, not for resale.”

  • The 2024 prize longlist will be announced in March 2024. The shortlist will be announced in April 2024. The overall winner will be announced at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival, in Port of Spain at the end of April 2024.
  • Publishers must agree that extracts from shortlisted books may be published in the Trinidad and Tobago Express and any other print or digital prize publications for purposes 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/or 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.
  • For any queries about eligibility requirements or the submission process, please contact the prize administrators at:

[email protected]

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.

OCM Bocas Prize Judges 2024

Head Judge

About The Prize

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.

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 OCM Bocas Prize Winners

2023

Overall and fiction winner: When We Were Birds, by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo


Poetry winner: Sonnets for Albert, by Anthony Joseph


Non-fiction winner: Love the Dark Days, by Ira Mathur

2022

Overall and fiction winner: Pleasantview, by Celeste Mohammed


Poetry winner: Talking With Trees, by Jason Allen-Paisant


Non-fiction winner: Things I Have Withheld, by Kei Miller

2021

Overall and poetry winner: The Dyzgraphxst, by Canisia Lubrin


Fiction winner: These Ghosts Are Family, by Maisy Card


Non-fiction winner: The Undiscovered Country, by Andre Bagoo

2020

Overall and poetry winner: Epiphaneia, by Richard Georges

Fiction winner: Everything Inside, by Edwidge Danticat

Non-fiction winner: Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging, by Tessa McWatt

2019

Overall and non-fiction winner: High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture, by Kevin Adonis Browne


Poetry winner: Doe Songs, by Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné


Fiction winner: Theory, by Dionne Brand

2018

Overall and fiction winner: Curfew Chronicles, by Jennifer Rahim


Poetry winner: Madwoman, by Shara McCallum


There was no non-fiction winner for 2018, as the judges did not believe any of the eligible books “could be held to represent the best of regional writing”

2017

Overall and fiction winner: Augustown, by Kei Miller


Poetry winner: Cannibal, by Safiya Sinclair


Non-fiction winner: Virtual Glimpses into the Past/A Walk Back in Time: Snapshots of the History of Trinidad and Tobago, by Angelo Bissessarsingh

2016

Overall and fiction winner: The Pain Tree, by Olive Senior


Poetry winner: Wife, by Tiphanie Yanique


Non-fiction winner: The Gymnast and Other Positions, by Jacqueline Bishop

2015

Overall and poetry winner: Sounding Ground, by Vladimir Lucien


Fiction winner: A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James


Non-fiction winner: Dying to Better Themselves: West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal, by Olive Senior

2014

Overall and fiction winner: As Flies to Whatless Boys, by Robert Antoni


Poetry winner: Oracabessa, by Lorna Goodison


Non-fiction winner: Writing Down the Vision: Essays and Prophecies, by Kei Miller

2013

Overall and fiction winner: Archipelago, by Monique Roffey


Poetry winner: Fault Lines, by Kendel Hippolyte


Non-fiction winner: The Sky’s Wild Noise: Selected Essays, by Rupert Roopnaraine

2012

Overall and fiction winner: Is Just a Movie, by Earl Lovelace


Poetry winner: The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman, by Loretta Collins Klobah


Non-fiction winner: George Price: A Life Revealed, by Godfrey P. Smith

2011

Overall and poetry winner: White Egrets, by Derek Walcott


Fiction winner: How to Escape from a Leper Colony, by Tiphanie Yanique


Non-fiction winner: Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, by Edwidge Danticat

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