In 2015, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest reached a small milestone —the fifth year of Trinidad and Tobago’s annual Festival of words, stories, and ideas. Started in 2011, the festival hosted hundreds of events and writers and ran dozens of programmes aimed at finding and encouraging new literary talent, and expanding audiences for the literary arts.
We were proud of the Festival’s growth and impact, and grateful to the many people who continued to support us along the way. With so much more to do to stimulate T&T’s growing literary appetite, and nurture our writers here and across the Caribbean, we had only just gotten started!
As Festival regulars expected, the 2015 NGC Bocas Lit Fest arrived with a rich, diverse programme, overflowing with readings and discussions, performances and workshops,
film screenings and exhibitions, all of which you could be navigated and explored in the pages of the guide and fold-out programme. 2015 saw some changes — such as our new Salon series of intimate conversations on a range of subjects — and several big themes that ran through the five Festival days. This anniversary year also brought a special focus to translation and language — how it both connects and divides us. Lost and Found was a series of events featuring literary translators and writers from many linguistic backgrounds, exploring why translation matters to us as readers.
Future Friday was a day of readings from and discussions about contemporary Caribbean speculative fiction. The region’s leading authors in this popular genre tackled the question of “how fantasy can help fix reality.” Budding sci-fi writers benefited from a dedicated masterclass and sci-fi open mic event. 2015 was an election year in T&T, as and as our politicians geared up for their campaigns, Bocas hosted two special debates on the perennially urgent topic of good governance featuring a high-level panel of former government officials and scholars, plus a lively extempo duel featuring two masters of the quick-witted artform.
Dedicated to supporting new writing, we offered several opportunities to hear from talented up-and-comers in our midst, including our Who’s Next? session, to spotlight the next wave of emerging voices and our popular Stand and Deliver open mic event, a platform for self-published writers in DIY Lit, and more. We were also delighted to host the launches of five new books of Caribbean fiction and poetry.
From the beginning, Bocas has been about writing from the Caribbean. We believe the best of our writers are as good as the best writers anywhere, as the distinguished list of winners of the OCM Bocas Prize more than proves.
We paid tribute to major authors of older generations, such as Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, and the late Eric Roach, and were proud to feature some of the most thrilling writers of the generation coming to international prominence.