The 2023 NGC Bocas Lit Fest will run from 28 to 30 April — our first fully in-person festival in four years!
We all have fascinating stories about our lives and experiences — but how do you turn them into a narrative that’s compelling for others to read? What should you put in or leave out, and how do you balance personal memory against research and imaginative reconstruction? Veteran editor Ian Randle explains the key elements of any good memoir, and what publishers look for in an autobiography.
Number of entries in the waiting list
The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is held every year during the last week of April/ first week of May in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (with the exception of the 2020 Festival which was postponed to 18–20 September due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
The NGC Bocas Lit Fest takes place at the National Library and the adjoining Old Fire Station in downtown Port of Spain.
Entrance to the Festival Village is free (unless otherwise stated), and almost all of our events – including readings, panel discussions, film screenings, performances and children’s events – are free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come basis and everyone is welcome.
There are two notable exceptions:
1) The First Citizens National Poetry Slam semi-finals and finals are ticketed events. We recommend purchasing tickets early to avoid disappointment! Note: While in-person performance restrictions remain in place, the FCNPS will be broadcast on national TV in Trinidad and Tobago so everyone can enjoy.
2) You must register in advance to reserve your spot in our writing workshops. You can register online, by phone or by email. We do have free workshops, but most have a small fee.
Premium subscribers to our Friends of the Bocas Lit Fest community are entitled to discounts on ticketed/ paid events, as well as reserved seating/ priority access to select events.
Our Festival programme is developed around specific annual themes and generally features recently published Caribbean authors. We showcase the writers longlisted and shortlisted for the major literary awards administered by Bocas Lit Fest, as well as the independent panels of experts and writers who judge them. We also review nominations from publishers and our programme partners to determine the most exciting new voices to showcase each year.
We welcome submissions from authors wishing to participate in the Festival, but we have limited openings for writers who don’t fall into one of the above categories. We follow up on submissions/ queries from authors that fit with our programme plans and themes for upcoming Festivals.
If you’re interested in participating in the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, send us an email at email@example.com with an author bio, book synopsis and any critical reviews/ endorsements for consideration. All writers are welcome to participate in our Stand & Deliver series.
We have several events during the Festival, and year round, that seek out and support promising new talent:
The Bocas Lit Fest does not sell or distribute books, so books by authors appearing at the Festival (and many other titles) are sold by independent booksellers who set up booths in our Festival Village. Make sure to purchase early so you’re first in line for book signing!
Beyond books, the Festival Village has an array of exciting local products, crafts and services from specialist vendors — everything from artisan chocolate to handmade clothing, jewellery and crafts. If you’re interested in having your own booth at the Festival, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of our vendor registration form and to get more information on renting a booth space at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.
Since 2017 we’ve been livestreaming the events at the Old Fire Station, and those videos are available on our YouTube channel here. We have audio recordings of Festival events from before 2017, and those are available via Soundcloud here. If you are interested in using or sharing a recording from the festival, please contact us for permission at email@example.com.
From 2021, Festival recordings will remain publicly available for a limited time before being archived for exclusive use by Friends of Bocas Lit Fest subscribers.
Yes! We recruit a large team of volunteers to help at the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest. When we can safely resume in-person events in Trinidad and Tobago, we will open recruitment.
In April 2021, we launched an online community platform called Friends of Bocas. Historically, we have relied on corporate sponsorship. Now, you have the opportunity to support our work and increase our impact through an annual donation that gives you access to this online community. By joining our Friends community, you support our work and gain access to so much more than a literary festival. It is your gateway to exclusive workshops and content, intimate sessions with our community of writers, and a network of like-minded Friends from across the industry! We invite you to become a Friend of the Bocas Lit Fest and help us advance this Caribbean literary movement in every island, country and diaspora to ensure our sustainability for generations to come. Find out more here.
If you have a particular question or query, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (868) 222-7099 – if we don’t answer, please leave a message and we’ll get right back to you.