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New literary festival launches pan-Caribbean prize

Authors of Caribbean descent, and fans of world literature, take note: there is a new literary festival taking place next year in Trinidad and Tobago that will celebrate writing from the region. The centrepiece of the four-day event, which runs April 28 to May 1, is a literary prize that will be open to an international slate of authors.

The $10,000 (U.S.) OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature will be awarded to the best work of fiction, poetry, or non-fiction published in English by an author who is either a Caribbean citizen or was born in a Caribbean country. From the Bocas Lit Fest website:

The Caribbean’s rich literary heritage ” in multiple languages ” has made a contribution to world culture well out of proportion to the region’s small size. We have produced winners of many literary awards, including three Nobel laureates ” Saint-John Perse (1960), Derek Walcott (1992), and V.S. Naipaul (2001). But until now there has been no indigenous Caribbean literary award, organised and judged by Caribbean people, of genuinely international scope.

The fiction category will be judged by author, editor, and former publisher Margaret Busby as well as by a pair of authors who call Canada home: David Chariandy (Soucouyant) and Lorna Goodison (From Harvey River). The winner in each of three categories “ fiction, poetry, and literary non-fiction “ will then vie for the $10,000 pot.