More Than A Literary Festival

Remembering Jennifer Rahim (1963–2023)

Celebrating the work of the beloved T&T writer

Writer, teacher, mentor — Jennifer Rahim was a quiet but deeply influential figure in Caribbean literature of the past three decades, equally known and loved for her poetry, short stories, and fiction. Her novel Curfew Chronicles (2017), winner of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, may be her most celebrated book, offering an intricate and deeply humane portrait of Trinidad and Tobago across a pivotal 24-hour period. But she was long considered one of the finest contemporary Caribbean poets — clear-eyed in her observation, tender yet precise in her language, exploring big themes of family, history, and spirituality though attention to details of the everyday.

When Rahim died unexpectedly in March 2023, it was a shock and an immense loss to Caribbean readers and writers, her University of the West Indies colleagues and former students. She left behind a substantial body of published work and a final completed novel, Goodbye Bay, scheduled for publication by Peepal Tree Press in July 2023.

In celebration of Jennifer Rahim, and to commemorate Caribbean Literature Day (12 July) 2023, the Bocas Lit Fest has curated a selection of texts, video, and audio footage offering excerpts from and engagement with her work — including an exclusive preview of Goodbye Bay, courtesy Peepal Tree Press.


Launching Curfew Chronicles

The official launch of Rahim’s novel Curfew Chronicles was a highlight of the 2017 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, hosted by publisher Jeremy Poynting of Peepal Tree Press and featuring readings by and conversation with the author. A year later, it was chosen by the judges of the 2017 OCM Bocas Prize as that year’s overall winner. Listen here:

Keep It Short

In this session at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Rahim joined fellow authors Keith Jardim and Jacob Ross to read from and discuss their short fiction with a sharp eye on the politics and perils of the contemporary Caribbean; chaired by Jeremy Poynting of Peepal Tree Press.


Writing by Jennifer Rahim


Writing on Jennifer Rahim

“A Season of Sorrow”

A moving, insightful obituary by Jeremy Poynting of Peepal Tree Press, Rahim’s publisher and editor, that also serves as a concise critical summary of what makes her writing distinctive.



In these insightful, generous reviews, Rahim turned her critical attention to the debut books of two younger poets from T&T, hinting at some of the concerns of her own creative work while tracing a literary lineage.

Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné
Published in the T&T Newsday, 2019
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“The capacity to be vulnerable without being defeated” - On Doe Songs, by Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné
Shivanee Ramlochan
Shivanee Ramlochan
Published in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, 2019
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“Not a tentative novice’s journey of discovery” - On Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting, by Shivanee Ramlochan
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