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Belizean attorney in running for Bocas Prize

Saturday, March 17, 2012
Godfrey Smith

A biography of Belize’s first Prime Minister, George Price, is among the books shortlisted for the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. George Price: A Life Revealed, written by Belizean politician, columnist and attorney Godfrey P Smith, is hailed as a deft exploration of George Price’s “eccentric genius and political acumen” by the judges who have selected three books from a list of ten to vie for this year’s US$10,000 prize.


Also on the short list is Trinidadian novelist, playwright and short-story writer Earl Lovelace for his sixth novel, Is Just A Movie, described by the judges as “a tapestry of island history… steeped in place and full of beautifully realised characters.” The other contender is Puerto Rican writer and professor Loretta Collins Klobah’s book The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman. Judges praised the collection as displaying a “hard-earned maturity of poetic spirit”, adding that the title poem marks “a tour de force of the historical and cultural imagination”.


The shortlist announcement was made yesterday, with these three books, already winners in their own categories, going on to vie for the overall prize which will be presented on April 28 during the second annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest, April 26-29. OCM Bocas Prize, founder and Festival Director, Marina Salandy-Brown, said: “Again this year we have previously unpublished authors lining up with acknowledged literary stars for the prize. Godfrey P Smith is a newcomer and Loretta Collins Klobah’s collection of poetry is her first.


The prize is bringing great writing by new and established writers to the attention of a wider audience, which is what we set out to do.” Last year’s prize was won by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, for his most recent poetry collection, White Egrets. Tiphanie Yanique’s debut short story collection How To Escape from a Leper Colony won the fiction category and Edwidge Danticat’s Create Dangerously the non-fiction category.


The OCM Bocas Prize, now in its second year, is open to books published in the previous calendar year by writers of Caribbean birth or citizenship. The 2012 panel of judges boasts a gathering of eminent authors and academics based both in the Caribbean and abroad and is chaired by the Barbadian writer, George Lamming.


The four-day 2012 NGC Bocas Lit Fest is principally sponsored by The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago with supporting sponsorship from OCM and KFC. Other sponsors include the Commonwealth Foundation, First Citizens, Courts and Flow. The 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature shortlist:


The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman, by Loretta Collins Klobah (Puerto Rico)


Is Just A Movie, by Earl Lovelace (Trinidad and Tobago)


George Price: A Life Revealed, by Godfrey P Smith (Belize)