Bocas Lit Fest

The Write Away! offers engaging digital content to support online English classes, available to all secondary schools via the Ministry of Education’s School Learning Management System. Produced by the Bocas Lit Fest and sponsored by The Scotiabank Foundation, the Write Away! is designed to keep students and teachers motivated and engaged in reading, writing and online learning this year.

The Write Away! includes five virtual creative writing workshops, a teacher’s guide and a digital booklet of excerpts from award-winning Caribbean YA books, giving students access to exciting, culturally-relevant books of all genres that can foster a lifelong love of reading. Led by the award-winning author Lisa Allen-Agostini, the workshops break down the essentials of creative writing, and covers everything from character building to planning your plot and scene setting.  

In the first term of the 2020-2021 school year, 9 secondary schools participated in the Write Away! project: Arima North Secondary, Belmont Secondary, Fyzabad Secondary, Marabella North Secondary, Pleasantville Secondary, San Juan North Secondary, St. James Secondary, Tableland Secondary and Waterloo Secondary. In addition to the digital package, those schools received a donation of books for their school libraries to facilitate book clubs and reading groups, and guided writing support for their students from workshop facilitator Lisa Allen-Agostini.  

“Our priority at this time is ensuring that no student is left behind in this new digital learning space.  We are pleased that our sponsorship of the Write Away! Young Adult Literature Project will provide secondary school students with a platform to foster a love of creative writing and reading.” 

Roxane De Freitas – Chairperson, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Foundation.

“On behalf of my students and my department, I want to express my gratitude for this resource. It is the type of resource I have been eager to find and make available to my students. I hope that the video package can be expanded to incorporate books that are part of our literary canon, as well as books published in the future. Additionally, I want to thank Bocas Lit Fest for including St. James Secondary in this workshop. It has been a memorable and enjoyable experience.”

Ms. K. Callender, Teacher II, St. James Secondary.

“Before I wouldn’t write dialogue a lot because it wasn’t something encouraged in school, but once I had that video in my hands, I got to watch it over and over to get an idea of the dos and don’ts, now I write dialogue in all my pieces.”

Jayden Phillip,  Form 5, Waterloo Secondary School.

Enjoy excerpts from stories by talented young writers in the Write Away! project below:

Tamera Joseph

Excerpt from The Murder That Became a Mystery

I met Lisa when she visited my company in New York. She was a customer in line waiting to sign up for one of my graphic design services. It was like love at first sight. As I glimpsed her I felt butterflies swirling in pit of my stomach like a little girl now falling in love with her handsome prince. I was so drawn to her olive skin and piercing green eyes that I didn’t want to look away. “Hello beautiful, it’ll be my honour to assist you today.” And from that little conversation Lisa and I hit it off. It started to go downhill approximately three months later. Lisa started transferring money from my bank account to hers, going on long trips without me having any communication with her, and that’s when I started to become suspicious. I hired a private investigator and was heartbroken and devastated when I found out the truth…

Tia Lamont, age 16

Excerpt from The Narrow Escape

As the sun rose in the sky with its bold orange colour shining and smiling on the earth, taking its time to crawl quickly up to my bedsheet, I toss and twist, unhearing my mother yelling at me to get my lazy self out of my room. I woke up with my body feeling restlessly unable to walk. Dragging myself to the bathroom to brush my teeth I took up my toothbrush rinsed it off and brushed. I did what any other child at my age would do I passed my finger to take up the toothpaste and placed it on my toothbrush and then continued to brush my teeth. I took a bath in some ice cold water, made my bed and headed downstairs to fill my stomach before school. “Good Morning ma” “Morning son…… yuh bathe?” “Yes ma” “Brush yuh teeth?” “Yesss… maaa” “Say yuh pray?”  “Yuh say yuh pray?” “No ma.” “Boy, before I whoop yuh little behind go and thank de lord for waking yuh up eh, thank him for blessing yuh through de night. What happen tuh yuh?”

Monique Johnson, age 16

Excerpt from The Psychic Hospital

The pale crescent moon shone like a silvery claw in the night sky. Looking out my huge bedroom window, I could see the blanket of stars that stretched to infinity. He had just dozed off leaving me wide awake. I knew it was time to escape. My sister was already waiting for me, just across the bushes. I crawled out of bed, slowly, tip toeing through the mansion. I took a knife from the cabinet draw, for protection. I had no intentions of using it but if he came after me I was going to kill him right, then and there.

Natalia Piper

Excerpt from Twin Boys

The heat from the sun filled the house, so Paul decided to take his pencils and water colours and sit under the mango trees. The still air in the midday heat made Paul drowsy, but he fought against it, gripping his pencil and starting his sketch. A clear picture of what he wanted to paint, came to his mind. All the things he had seen stayed in his memory, became a part of him and his thoughts. Not even his twin brother, Jason and his superior self could demolish. The tall grass bent in the winds; the hibiscus flowers shone bright red in the sunlight, the casuarinas swayed and whispered. The atmosphere was cool under the trees as Paul lay on his back with the pencil in his mouth, looking through the spider’s web of the trees’ leaves. Paul thought the trees were tall, slender, graceful and lovely, during the day, swinging, arching and murmuring like graceful women in photos, while at night, they take petrifying shapes as the stars and moon light the sky. Paul shivered at the thought. One night, after dinner, Paul went for a walk with his brother, Jason, and their father. Even after many years, Paul recalled the moon rising when they left home and they were in happy spirits; he learnt to whistle. He remembered Jason’s mocking laugh.     Paul recollected the mango shadows, in Garnet Road, in the soft lights, strange and disturbing; the wind’s whispers through the trees. The whole picture was dimly lit by the moon. He clutched his father’s hand, who understood that he was scared and squeezed his hand in reassurance. However, Jason obliviously hopped and pranced along the road, whistling and showcasing his fearlessness to the ghostly shadows. As Paul pieced the memory together, his head filled with hate towards his twin brother.

Subira La Fleur

Excerpt from Untitled

The golden rays of sunlight shone through the living-room louvers as I sat in my grandmother’s living-room playing a game of cards with my uncle, Pom-Pom before there was a sudden knock on the front door. I approached the old, wooden, dark-brown door and opened it to see my best-friend, Tabby.                                  “You want to go outside and play?” Tabby asked. “Okay, just now,” I replied before walking away to put on my shoes. “Uncle Pom-Pom, I’m going outside with Tabby,” I told him as I put on my signature dusty, brown, boots.                                                     “Alright, come inside before the streets light turn on, you hear?” he replied to my statement. I muttered an “okay” before walking out of the door and into the yard. I sat in my grandmother’s yard under the laden, lofty mango tree as beautiful blue and yellow birds flocked to peck at the juicy fruit. As Tabby and I sat on hot, barely alive, grass playing a game of dominos, my attention slowly faded from the game and into Aunty Pam-Pam and Miss Mary’s conversation. My grandmother always said “Don’t mind other people’s business because you will miss out on your own,” but I couldn’t help it. “You heard about Johnny’s boy, Mark?” Aunty Pam-Pam questioned, “Yes Pam, he was caught thieving the neighbour’s boxers off their line.” she replied. A loud cackle left my dried, cracked lips. “You know how long I’ve been calling your name for you to play and you sitting there staring into space and laughing,” grumbled Tabby. “Sorry Tabby, I was just listening to what Aunty Pam-Pam and Miss Mary was talking about.” I said before toning my ears back into their conversation. “He thieving a thing like boxers, but his mother always seen wearing big gold chain and earrings,” Miss Mary continued. “Yes Pam, his mother always buying brand name products but can’t afford a boxers.” Miss Mary agreed.  

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