More Than A Literary Festival

NGC Bocas Youth Writer Award 2023

Spoken word poet Alexandra C. Stewart has been named the 2023 winner of the NGC Bocas Youth Writer Award, adding to her list of accolades.

The 25-year-old was announced as the winner of the award, which recognises talented young writers from Trinidad and Tobago, at the closing event of the 2023 NGC Bocas Youth Fest, on Saturday 21 October.

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Representing a diverse range of voices and styles, this year’s three shortlisted writers promised a captivating glimpse into the region’s vibrant literary future. Kela Roberts, an aspiring editor and dedicated writer, embodied the spirit of emerging literary talent with her passion and dedication. Alongside her is Scyllina Samuel, a perceptive blogger and journalism student, whose insightful writings vividly captured the essence of the Caribbean’s cultural diversity. The third shortlisted writer was Alexandra Stewart, a trailblazing poet and teaching artist, whose triumphant three-time consecutive championship titles in the First Citizens National Poetry Slam have solidified her status as a poetic powerhouse.

Literature is always evolving, and young writers are at the forefront of the evolution.

With the full landscape of literature in view, in 2021 the NGC Bocas Lit Fest introduced a pioneering inter-genre NGC Bocas Youth Writer Award for young people based in Trinidad and Tobago.

With the help of a diverse panel of judges, we are determined to find and celebrate young writers of talent in any corner of literature, including poetry, playwriting, fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, scriptwriting, spoken word, blog writing, and song lyrics.

The NGC Bocas Youth Writer for 2023 received a cash prize of TT$5,000, and will have their writing showcased as part of the 2024 NGC Bocas Youth Fest.  The winner was the young person in the literary arts whom the judges deemed as having demonstrated the most impact with their work in the last year. The judges explored these key considerations:
  • How has this literary work made an impact?
  • Indicators such as creative influence, critical acclaim, and online views, shares, and reach.
  • Is the literary work of high quality?
  • Does it show originality of thought and style, a command of language and form, general creativity, and the ability to influence readers?

About the NGC Bocas Youth Writer Award

Eligibility and nomination guidelines
To be eligible for entry, a writer must:
  1. Be of Trinidad and Tobago birth or citizenship, living in Trinidad and Tobago, and writing in English;
  2. Be 25 years old or younger on 31 December 2023;
  3. Have published or publicly released one or more works of literary art with notable impact (national or international) between 1 August, 2022, and 31 July, 2023.
Submissions in the following categories of writing are eligible:
  • Fiction (published short stories or a published novel)
  • Poetry (several individual poems published in magazines or online, or a published pamphlet/chapbook or book)
  • Creative nonfiction (which may include published essays, biography or autobiography, arts criticism, and other creative genres, whether they have appeared as individual pieces or a book)
  • Song lyrics (all genres of music, either recorded and publicly released, or publicly performed)
  • Blogging (on any topic of general interest, with a track record of regular online publication for a general audience)
  • Journalism (including news reporting and feature writing for newspapers or magazines, or newspaper commentary/columns)
  • Spoken word poetry (with a track record of public performance)
  • Playwriting or any other form of writing for live performance
  • Scriptwriting for film or TV
How to submit a nomination
  • You can nominate yourself or any other writer who meets the eligibility criteria. If you’re nominating someone else, please confirm that you have their permission. For nominees under the age of 18, please also confirm that you have the permission of their parent or guardian. Note that finalists and winners will be expected to participate in an interview, and their names, images, and biographical information may be used in announcing and promoting the award.
  • The deadline for submission of nominations is 15 September 2023. Nominations that arrive after this date will not be considered.
  • You must complete the online entry form on this page for each nomination.
  • For each nomination, please upload a PDF containing a short biography/curriculum vitae of the writer. The biography should be no more than 100 words long and should be accompanied by a list of the writer’s publications, performances, or releases in the applicable genre within the period 1 August, 2022 to 31 July, 2023. It should also be accompanied by a short statement no more than 200 words long, explaining why you think the impact of the writer’s work in the eligibility period qualifies them for the award.
  • Each nomination must also include a sample of the writer’s work in PDF format — see below for details. Please ensure the writer’s name is included in the PDF.
What to submit for each genre

Fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction

Please upload a PDF sample of published writing of approximately 3,000 words or less (this may be an excerpt from a longer work), including publication information (name/place/date of publication, etc.).

Song lyrics

Please upload a PDF with the lyrics of up to five songs, including information on public release or performance.


Please upload a PDF sample of one or more published blog posts, to a total of 3,000 words or less, along with the relevant URL(s).


Please upload a PDF sample of up to five published articles or columns, to a total of 3,000 words or less, including publication information (name/place/date of publication, URL if applicable, etc.).

Spoken word poetry

Please upload a PDF including a link to a video recording of up to three spoken word poems, hosted on either YouTube or Vimeo, along with the texts of the relevant pieces. Please also include any relevant information about the performance history of the pieces.

Playwriting or any other form of writing for live performance

Please upload a PDF of the script or an excerpt (up to 20 pages), along with relevant information about the performance history of the piece. Note: the script must have been publicly performed within the eligibility period. If the live performance was recorded and is posted online, please include the URL.

Scriptwriting for film or TV

Please upload a PDF including a link to one film (feature length or short, documentary or fiction) or TV programme, hosted on either YouTube or Vimeo, along with the script. Please also include any relevant information about the broadcast history of the piece.

Past winners of the NGC Bocas Youth Writer Award


Rawiya Hosein

“Unanimously, we found Rawiya Hosein’s writing on par with the work of writers of much greater age. Her accomplished résumé is a testament to both her talent and her tenacity…. I guarantee this is not the last time you will hear her name calling in a forum like this.”

– Lisa Allen-Agostini, head judge, 2022


Harmony Farrell


We enjoyed her writing and appreciated her commentary on topical issues which demonstrates a critical approach that is much needed in the mainstream. We believe Harmony’s work will have widespread reach and great impact. We strongly feel she has the potential to become a voice for her generation.” — Franka Philip, Head Judge, 2021 NGC Bocas Youth Writer Award

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