Literature is always evolving. The art of writing is applicable to a multitude of disciplines, and writers everywhere are using their pens and keyboards to shape our lives. With the full landscape of literature in view, the Bocas Lit Fest is introducing a pioneering inter-genre Youth Writer Award, for young people based in Trinidad and Tobago. Who has been the most influential young person in literary arts in T&T in the last year? With the help of a diverse panel of judges, we are embarking on a journey to find and celebrate young writers of talent in any corner of literature: including poetry, playwriting, fiction, creative non-fiction, journalism, scriptwriting, spoken word, blog writing, and song lyrics.
The winner will receive a cash prize of TT$5,000, along with publicity for being recognised as the NGC Bocas Youth Writer for 2021.
The winner will be the young person in the literary arts whom the judges deem as demonstrating the most impact with their work in the last year and a half. The judges are tasked with exploring two key questions:
• How has this literary work made an impact? Indicators such as creative influence, critical acclaim, and online views, shares, and reach will be considered.
• 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?
2021 NGC Bocas Youth Writer Award Entry Form
Eligibility and nomination guidelines
To be eligible for entry, a writer must:
- Be of Trinidad and Tobago birth or citizenship, living in Trinidad and Tobago, and writing in English;
- Be 25 years old or younger on 31 December, 2021;
- Have published or publicly released one or more works of literary art with notable impact (national or international) between 1 January, 2020, and 30 July, 2021.
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 non-fiction (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 19 October, 2021. 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 January, 2020, and 30 July, 2021. 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.).
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.