Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 14th 2017 Contents A26 life
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The Bocas Lit Fest has
announced books by nine
writers for its longlist for
this year's OCM Bocas Prize
for Caribbean Literature.
The Prize recognises books
in three genre categories---
poetry, fiction, and literary
Caribbean authors in 2016.
In the poetry category, the
judges have named books by
three younger Jamaican writers.
Ishion Hutchinson's House
of Lords and Commons is a
meditation on home and abroad,
personal and communal history.
Ann-Margaret Lim's lyrical
Kingston Buttercup has a deep
grounding in the landscape of
Jamaica, whether the penetrat-
ing poems address the persis-
tent legacy of slavery, Lim's
relationship with her mother,
or the complications of con-
And Safiya Sinclair's debut
Cannibal is haunted by the
character of Caliban from The
Tempest, as it explores Jamaican
childhood and womanhood, and
otherness in a strange place that
may be the United States where
the poet now lives, or language
The fiction category includes
novels by two Jamaicans and
Marcia Douglas's magical
realist novel The Marvellous
Equations of the Dread is set
after the deaths of Bob Marley
and Emperor Haile Selassie, and
coveys a sense of both history's
dread and the hope born of hu-
In his debut novel The Repen-
ters, Kevin Jared Hosein tells a
transgressive, almost gothic tale
of violence and punishment,
exploring the darkest side of
Trinidadian society and fam-
And in Augustown, Kei Miller
offers a historical epic ranging
over 60 years of Jamaican his-
tory, with its complexities of
class, ethnicity, religion, and
"Due to the excellence and
range of so many of the works,
selecting a shortlist was ex-
tremely difficult," remarked
the fiction judges.
In the non-fiction category,
the long-listed books are all
Barbadian Hilary McD Beck-
les's The First Black Slave Soci-
ety: Britain's Barbarity Time in
Barbados, 1636--1876 is a com-
pelling history of the first 140
years of the colonisation of Bar-
bados, "with great resonances
for contemporary debates about
reparatory justice for the crimes
of history," say the judges.
Angelo Bissessarsingh's twin
books Virtual Glimpses into the
Past and A Walk Back in Time
collect vignettes from the histo-
ry of T&T offering an effortless
read for those for whom the past
is a forgotten country.
And in Inward Yearnings: Ja-
maica's Journey to Nationhood,
Colin Palmer tells the story of
Jamaica's struggle to define an
identity that embraces both its
African heritage and its Anglo-
phone western past.
The winners in each
genre category will be an-
nounced on March 27 and
the Prize of US$10,000 will
be presented to the overall
winner on April 29, during
the seventh annual NGC
Bocas Lit Fest in Port-of-
The 2017 judging panels
include David Dabydeen,
the celebrated Guyanese
writer based in the UK,
who chairs the poetry pan-
el; Cuban poet and
founder and edi-
tor of the journal
and editor Malai-
ka Adero; St Vin-
cent-born, Canada-based writ-
er H Nigel Thomas; Jamaican
Kim Robinson-Walcott, editor
of Caribbean Quarterly and Ja-
maica Journal; scholars Aaron
Kamugisha of Barbados; and
Patricia Mohammed of T&T.
The overall chair of the
2017 cross-judging panel is
the eminent Jamaican poet
and scholar Edward Baugh.
Nine writers make OCM Bocas Prize longlist
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