Tag Archives: Bocas

Mailbox – People’s Choice T&T

You’ll remember that I tried to host a people’s choice for Antiguan and Barbudan book of the year at the end of 2017 that was dead on arrival (didn’t get close to the minimum number of votes needed to declare a winner). It was one of the most viewed posts of the year on the site but, for whatever reason, votes were very few. I was disappointed because I thought it was a fun way for fans to give a favourite book a boost – a boost for local literary arts overall. But, dey e dey.

That initiative was inspired by the Trinidad and Tobago People’s Choice book awards which was much better organized, resourced, and successful. They did it right and had quite the response, and a writer who might otherwise have flown under the radar (i.e. a writer who had not been in conversation vis-à-vis other awards coming out of TnT, like Bocas) gets some dap.

That writer is…Soulspection

Announcing the winner of the 2018 People’s Choice T&T Book of the Year

The overall winner, as chosen by the voting public, is Soulspection: A Collection of Poetry, by Michelle Borel.

The other books in the final voting round were (in alphabetical order by title):

21 Powerful P’s to Success, by Nichola Harvey
Don’t Go Mango Picking, by D.H. Gibbs
Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting, by Shivanee Ramlochan (also a Forward Prize Best First Collection 2018 nominee)
Men and Misfits, by Lyndon Baptiste
The Repenters, by Kevin Jared Hosein (also long listed for the 2017 Bocas prize)

Congratulations to all the finalists!

An initiative of the Bocas Lit Fest in partnership with Newsday and NALIS, the prize was intended to promote reading and buying of local books, and to get people talking about them. Judy Raymond, editor-in-chief of the Trinidad & Tobago Newsday, shared this sentiment, saying “Obviously as a news organization we want more people to read  — and write — and this prize is a brilliant way to encourage people to do both! As the people’s paper we’re especially glad to be associated with a prize that’s awarded to a local writer by local readers.”

A total of 39 books were entered for judging, and Borel’s book earned the most votes from a finalists’ list of 6.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Bocas’ Best: the Winner

 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.

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‘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).

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

 

 

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Mailbox – Bocas

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March 13, 2016 · 11:49 pm

The 2016 OCM Bocas Prize Longlist

Below are the results from the Bocas people re the 2016 long list of the only Caribbean-specific prize for authors across the fiction, non fiction, and poetry. Only one Antiguan and Barbuda has to date been long listed for the prize – Dorbene O’Marde in 2015 for his Short Shirt biography Nobody Go Run Me. I’ve inserted the countries of this year’s finalists below. – JCH, WadPen blogger

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The Prize longlist, announced by the judges on 6 March, 2016, includes three genre categories: books of poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction.

POETRY

BURN, by Andre Bagoo (Shearsman) – TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Providential, by Colin Channer (Peepal Tree Press/Akashic Books) – JAMAICA (RESIDENT IN THE US)
Wife, by Tiphanie Yanique (Peepal Tree Press) – THE USVI W/DOMINICAN ROOTS (RESIDENT IN THE US & THE USVI)

FICTION

Fifteen Dogs, by Andre Alexis (Coach House Books) – TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO  (RESIDENT IN CANADA)
The Whale House and Other Stories, by Sharon Millar (Peepal Tree Press) – TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
The Pain Tree, by Olive Senior (Cormorant Books) – JAMAICA (RESIDENT IN CANADA)

Special mention:
Madinah Girl, by Anna Levi (Karnak House) – TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

NON-FICTION

The Gymnast and Other Positions, by Jacqueline Bishop (Peepal Tree Press) – JAMAICA (RESIDENT IN THE US)
’Membering, by Austin Clarke (Dundurn) – BARBADOS (RESIDENT IN CANADA)
Ties That Bind: The Black Family in Post-Slavery Jamaica, 1834–1882, by Jenny M. Jemmot (UWI Press) – JAMAICA

The winners in each category will be announced on 27 March, 2016, and the Prize of US$10,000 will be presented to the overall winner on Saturday 30 April at a special ceremony during the sixth annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain (27 April–1 May). The other two genre winners are awarded US$3,000.

Read more about the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize longlist here.

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A Little Perspective

The long list of the OCM Bocas Prize was announced this weekend and an Antiguan and Barbudan writer/book/subject is on the list! 2136dd3c-42db-4ee4-841a-70fa52ac3d4cThe writer, Dorbrene O’Marde; the book, Nobody Go Run Me; the subject, Short Shirt . Maybe it will get some press here at home – whether you believe as I do that Short Shirt is the epitome of Antiguan and Barbudan calypso artistry, he is one of our cultural and calypso icons after all – whatever he does is news (right?), and Dorbrene is a well-established arts and media personality in his own right – from his days as Head of Harambee, widely acclaimed as the best of Antiguan theatre, to his current role as head and mouthpiece of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission (his profile certainly makes him news, right?). Plus Nobody Go Run Me was part of the news story that was the year-long anniversary celebration of Short Shirt’s 50 years in Calypso – something I, as a freelance journalist, covered for local publication Daily Observer, regional publication Zing, and, with specific reference to the book, am in the process of writing about for the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books which has ties, through its editor Dr. Paget Henry, to Brown University in the USA. All of that to say, this news of O’Marde and Nobody Go Run Me making the long list of a major Caribbean prize is news and probably won’t get lost in the shuffle. Probably. But, just in case, I want to bring a little perspective.

When Antigua and Barbuda’s name is hollered for major literary prizes – PEN/Faulkner, the Guggenheim, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, American Book Award to name a few, it’s usually followed by Jamaica Kincaid. You won’t find her face on any of our many, many roadside billboards but she is a literary celebrity by any stretch of the imagination and, though her nom de plume references a larger island in the northern Caribbean, she is from the Ovals community right here in the 268. She has been and continues to be an inspiration for writers like me and others – from places like Ottos, Antigua and places far removed from it, where young girls dream of daring to write unconventionally, compellingly…uncomfortably, truthfully.

For many, Antiguan and Barbudan literature in as much as it even exists – and for many it doesn’t – begins and ends with Jamaica.

Because of this oversight, every pebble that ripples the water, reminding the larger Caribbean and international community that we are here (arwe yah!) matters.

When Brenda Lee Browne, in 2013, made the long list of the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize – a prize which allows an emerging Caribbean writer time and resources to advance a work in progress – to date the only Antiguan and Barbudan of 22 long listed writers between 2013 and 2014, it mattered.

When an Antiguan and Barbudan book, in 2014, made the short list and went on to place second for the first ever Burt Award for Young Adult Caribbean fiction, it mattered.

There weren’t headlines here at home for either of these breakthroughs, both administered by the team behind the BOCAS literary festival in Trinidad, and presented during the awards ceremony there, but as far as creating ripples in the water, they mattered.

Well, the OCM Bocas Prize is the biggest award presented at that festival. For Caribbean writers, with the Commonwealth Book and First Book awards now just a memory and the other major literary awards of the world not impossible to reach – as 2015 Frost medalist Kamau Brathwaite’s accomplishment recently reminded us – but a stretch (and, don’t get me wrong, stretching is good), the OCM Bocas Prize is one of the few opportunities remaining. It is specific to us, demands the best of us, rewards the best among us. Since its launch in 2011, it has been won by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott (White Egrets); Earl Lovelace (Is Just a Movie) – who also took the Grand Prize from the Caribbean Congress of Writers for the same book; Monique Roffey (Archipelago) – previously shortlisted for the Orange Prize for another book, White Woman on the Green Bicycle; and former Guggenheim fellowRobert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys). Its long list has been a who’s who of Caribbean literati – Edwidge Dandicat, Kendel Hippolyte, Lorna Goodison, Kei Miller… and no Antiguans and Barbudans, until now 2015 with O’Marde’s book, Nobody Go Run Me. The book is in formidable company as there are no also-rans in this line up – Miller’s the Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion is already the winner of the prestigious Forward Prize in the UK, Marlon James (did you catch him this past week on Late Night with Seth Myers on NBC?) landed on several year-end best of lists in 2014 (TIME, New York Times, Amazon etc) and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in the US thanks to his Brief History of Seven Killings, Roffey’s House of Ashes was a finalist for the Costa Award, Tiphanie Yanique’s Land of Love and Drowning has already won the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, Elizabeth Nunez’s Not for Everyday Use has been dubbed by Oprah.com as one of the Best Memoirs of the past year, the author of Dying to Better Themselves, Olive Senior, is a previous winner of the aforementioned (and no longer) Commonwealth Writers Prize, and Tanya Shirley’s The Merchant of Feathers and Vladimir Lucien’s Sounding Ground have been receiving all kinds of critical acclaim. Nobody Go Run Me (described in the Bocas release as “…a carefully researched biography of Antigua’s most celebrated calypsonian and a history of Antiguan society and culture in the crucial decades after independence.”) deservedly claims its place among these great works. I hope that isn’t overlooked, as things of this nature tend to be, here at home.

It matters.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad! and Burt Award finalist Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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The Long Arm of the Lawless

The Long Arm of the Lawless, a short story by Barbara Jenkins, has won much praise and a trip to Scotland for its author.

The theme of crime writing was introduced during the 2014 NGC Bocas Lit Fest in partnership with Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, and the British Council.

Participants in a one-day workshop, led by two prize-winning Scottish crime writers, were encouraged to enter a mini Bloody Scotland short story competition with the winner being offered an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bloody Scotland Festival as part of an ongoing international exchange between the two events.

Dom Hastings, Festival director, says, “We were delighted to be able to attend the NGC Bocas Lit Fest earlier this year, both to showcase Scottish writing and experience a fantastic festival and burgeoning literary scene. I’m incredibly excited to be able to bring a small piece of this back to Scotland and invite a Trinidadian writer as talented at Barbara to our Festival in 2015.”

As a guest of Bloody Scotland, Barbara Jenkins will attend a crime writing masterclass with the University of Stirling and be introduced to the Scottish literature scene. The author says, “I am thrilled. This is my first crime story but I do plan to continue to mine real life in Trinidad for inspiration. Denise Mina and Allan Guthrie led an inspiring workshop. They even got us started writing at the workshop. From then, there was no way I could just let their gift lie unused. I must thank the NGC Bocas Lit Fest for creating this opportunity.”

The annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest is sponsored by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago as title sponsor, and is also supported by the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, Courts, First Citizens and Flow. Its local partners include One Caribbean Media. The British Council, Commonwealth Foundation, Arvon and CODE are among its international partners. The 2015 Festival takes place from April 29 – May 3, 2015 at the National Library and the adjacent Old Fire Station, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

See the website: www.bocaslitfest.com  or contact the Bocas Lit Fest at
info@bocaslitfest.com.

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Finalists for Inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature Announced!

We are proud to announce the finalists of the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature was established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for 55 years – in collaboration with William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation. The Award is the result of a close collaboration with CODE’s local partners in the Caribbean, The Bocas Lit Fest and CaribLit.
The shortlisted titles are:
·       Island Princess in Brooklyn by Diane Browne, Jamaica (published by Carlong)

·       All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele, Jamaica (published by Blouse & Skirt Books)
·       Barrel Girl by Glynis Guevara, Trinidad and Tobago (manuscript to be published)
·       Musical Youth by Joanne [C] Hillhouse, Antigua and Barbuda (manuscript to be published)
·       Abraham’s Treasure by Joanne Skerrett, Dominica (published by Papillotte Press)
·       Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith Dennis, Jamaica (published by LMH Publishing)
Congratulations to the finalists! And thank you to all writers who participated in the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. The first, second and third place winners will be announced on Friday 25 April during the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain.

Read the attached press release for all the details, or click here.

Regards,

The Bocas Lit Fest team

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