I get behind on the blogging (and everything) sometimes, blame the creative/freelance juggling life, so I’m late with the news of the winner of the biggest Caribbean based literary prize which would have been announced at the Bocas Literary Festival in late April. It feels like I should, anyway, since I shared both the 2018 long list and short list here, as I do.
So, shout out to Trinidad and Tobago’s Jennifer Rahim.
‘In a press release, Bocas stated that the judges’ choice was between Rahim’s collection of short stories, Curfew Chronicles, and Madwoman by Jamaican Shara McCallum. As poetry winner, McCallum received an award of US$3,000.
It said Curfew Chronicles was a series of linked short stories featuring characters from all levels of society, unfolding over a 24 hour period during a fictionalised version of the 2011 state of emergency.
“This must surely rank as one of the most ambitious books ever attempted by a Caribbean writer. The philosophical, moral and religious themes and ideas put forward about community in all its many manifestations are lightly, deftly handled… Readers are rewarded by moments of sheer grace; and numinous revelations at every turn,” said Lorna Goodison, chief judge of the prize.
Rahim is a widely published poet, fiction writer, and literary critic.” Read the full report.
This book sounds interesting; I’m adding it to my to-read list (yes, that long thing which increased by two this past week thanks to review copies of Wartime at Woolworths and The Nakedness of New received in the mail from authors Elaine Everest and Althea Romeo-Mark, respectively – but, hey, I finally finished Marlon James A Brief History of Seven Killings, so yay).
Congrats to Jennifer!
And if you’re keeping track, that’s the fourth win for Trinidad & Tobago in the Bocas prize’s eight years. Past winners are (in order) Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott (St. Lucia) – now deceased, Earl Lovelace (Trinidad & Tobago), Monique Roffey (Trinidad & Tobago), Robert Antoni (Trinidad & Tobago), Vladimir Lucien (St. Lucia), Olive Senior (Jamaica), and Kei Miller (Jamaica).
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