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Three T&T authors among OCM Bocas Prize finalists

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Gaiutra Bahadur

Three T&T authors have made the longlist of ten for the leading prize for Caribbean literature. Poet Roger Robinson, novelist Robert Antoni and writer Carole Boyce Davies represent T&T alongside writers from four other Caribbean countries on the longlist for the 2014 One Caribbean Media (OCM) Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, according to a release from the Marina Salandy-Brown, founder and director of the Bocas Lit Fest. The prize is presented as part of T&T’s annual literary festival, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.


The prize long list, announced by the judges on Monday, covers poetry, fiction and literary non-fiction. In the poetry category, UK-based Grenadian Malika Booker’s work Pepper Seed interconnects a larger diasporic story, which draws on dramatic monologue, historical narratives and poetry of witness in its delivery.



Oracabessa by Lorna Goodison is a book of risky journeys, mappings and re-mappings through Spain, Portugal, Canada and her homeland of Jamaica as the poet navigates place, history and imagination. Fellow Jamaican, Edward Baugh's work Black Sand focuses on the poem, and its struggle to come into existence as a moment of clarity in a world of chaos.



The Butterfly Hotel by Trinidadian Roger Robinson features stirring works that shape new concepts of home by the very rewarding act of re-creating memory through stories that are gracefully and elegantly rendered.


Three novels vie in the fiction category. As Flies to Whatless Boys by Trinidadian Robert Antoni is a tragic historical novel, accented with West Indian cadence and captivating humour, and provides an unforgettable glimpse into 19th-century T&T.



Haitian Edwidge Danticat's Claire of the Sea Light embraces the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life and brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing. In Jamaican writer Kerry Young's work Gloria, a story of love in its many forms unfolds, and of Gloria's evolution—from a frightened girl on the run to a woman fully possessed of her own power. 


The non-fiction category brings together three titles from different countries. In Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture Guyanese writer, Gaiutra Bahadur, tells through her great-grandmother’s story the stories of countless other women who made the passage from India to the Caribbean and opens a window to their perilous journeys to a forgotten world of servitude as indentured labour. 


Trinidadian Carole Boyce Davies’ work, Caribbean Spaces: Escape from the Twilight Zones, echoes the migrant’s longing for home as well as the woman’s search for wholeness in an ever-fragmenting world. Kei Miller's Writing Down the Vision is a collection of essays that present a range of experiences—personal and public—which the writer uses to articulate his vision, his understanding of the realities of life in Jamaica and the Caribbean.


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