More Than A Literary Festival

First Citizens National Poetry Slam

On Sunday, April 28, Queen’s Hall was ablaze with high-powered poetry performances for the 2024 First Citizens National Poetry Slam and crowning this year’s champion, Shakira Burton. A pool of 80 auditionees was whittled down to 16 through semifinal rounds at the Central Bank Auditorium on March 23 and 24, all vying for the coveted title of Grand Slam Champion. The event brought the curtains down on the 14th annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

This year’s Grand Slam judges included Natalie Fiawoo, Rose Ann Walker, Nicholas Sosa, Nickolai Salcedo, and head judge Arielle M. John.

The winner’s row took home a total of $80,000 courtesy First Citizens, with first, second, and third places receiving $50,000, $20,000, and $10,000 respectively. 

2024 finalists

Kyle Hernandez

Abdul Majeed Abdal Karim
Alexandra Stewart
Alicia Haynes
Daniel Baptiste
Darion Cunningham
Derron Sandy
Dershawn Hernandez
Gabrielle Murray
Kedisha Thomas
Keeron Isaac
Michael Logie
Renaldo Briggs (WC)
Ronaldo Mohammed
Seth Sylvester
Shakira Burton

Standby Poets

Kevin Soyer . Soleil La Barrie

Tickets:

The finals took place on Sunday 28 April 2024 at Queen’s Hall in St. Ann’s. 

Physical tickets also available at Xtra Foods locations

  • Aranguez
  • Arima
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Price Plaza
  • Sangre Grande

Tickets are available at the Queens Hall Box Office from Monday through Sunday from 12noon to 6:00pm.

Physical tickets also available at the Paper Based Bookshop:

  • The Writers Centre
  • 14 Alcazar Street,
  • St. Clair,
  • Port of Spain.

Cash Only

Judges

The Grand Slam Judges:

Semifinals Judges:

Audition Judges:

Evelyn Caesar Munroe

Victor Edwards

For more information, call the Slam Hotline at 375-2155 or email [email protected]

HISTORY

2024 marked the 12th edition of the First Citizens National Poetry Slam which has established itself as the largest stage for Spoken Word in the Caribbean, with a TT$50,000 first place prize, the biggest cash prize for Spoken Word artists in the world.
 

In 2020 and 2021, the championship was a televised event with live judging broadcast and streamed to the public for free. Closed auditions were held via Zoom, where twenty poets were chosen for the semi-final rounds airing in August of both years.

In 2022, all stages of the championship were accessible for public viewing, for free, and was hosted by popular personalities each year. 2023 marked the return of the annual Spoken Word championship to its traditional in-person, pre-covid schedule, with the reintroduction of the popular Wild Card feature of the Slam.

In 2024, the Slam’s organising committee revisited its partnership with the National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) to host Slam auditions at National Library locations across Trinidad and Tobago.
 
The Grand Slam (First Citizens National Poetry Slam Final) continues to draw sold-out audiences and remains the greatly-anticipated, high-energy closing event of the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest. 

Over twelve years, the First Citizens National Poetry Slam has seen:

1247 poets auditioned (2013-2023)
378 semi-finalists (2013-2023)
144 finalists (2013-2023)
39 winners (1st – 3rd places)
TT $717,000 distributed in prize money
72 Slam events to date

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