The 2013 NGC Bocas Lit Fest includes a line-up of over 70 writers, speakers, and performers. View the graphic version of this page.
James Christopher Aboud (poetry judge) is a Trinidadian poet and judge. His book Lagahoo Poems was awarded the inaugural James Rodway Poetry Prize, offered by Derek Walcott’s Rat Island Foundation in 2004. He has also published The Stone Rose and been included in various regional and international literary journals and anthologies. He was selected to participate in the creative writing program at Boston University.
John Agard is a Guyanese playwright, poet, and children’s writer based in Britain. In 1993 he was appointed Writer in Residence at the South Bank Centre, London, and became Poet in Residence at the BBC in London. His book Man Pan won the Casa de las Americas Award in 1982 and in 2012 he was selected for the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. His most recent book is the poetry collection Travel Light Travel Dark.
Lauren K. Alleyne is a Trinidadian poet who is currently poet-in-residence and Assistant Professor of English at the University of Dubuque. Difficult Fruit is her début collection.
Michael Anthony is an eminent Caribbean author and historian from Mayaro. He has had over 30 titles published in the form of novels, short stories and travelogues, including The Year in San Fernando, which was assigned as an English Literature text book in the Trinidad and Tobago curriculum. In 1979 he was awarded the Hummingbird Gold Medal for his contribution to literature, in 2003 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies, and in 2012 was awarded a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award. His latest book is The Lamplighter.
Robert Antoni is a Trinidadian writer whose landmark novel Divina Trace earned him a Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for best first book and an NEA grant in the USA. In 2012 he was honoured with the NALIS Lifetime Literary Award. He now lives in NY where he teaches in the graduate writing program at the New School University. His latest book is As Flies to Whatless Boys.
Gaiutra Bahadur is a Guyanese-American journalist and book critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, Ms., and the Nation, amongst other publications. Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture is her first full-length book.
Kevin Baldeosingh is a Trinidadian newspaper columnist, author and co-founder and chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Humanist Association. Aside from his journalistic work he has published numerous short stories, three novels, and a play, The Comedian, which was one of the four winners of the National Drama Association’s playwriting contest. In 2000 and 2001 he was regional Chairperson for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Canada/Caribbean). He now works with the Trinidad Express as a writer on a freelance basis. His latest novel is The Ten Incarnations of Adam Avatar.
Gerard Besson is a Trinidadian historian, writer, and founder of Paria Publishing. In 2007 he was awarded the Hummingbird Gold Medal for Heritage Preservation and Promotion and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Heritage Preservation from the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. He has authored numerous books on Trinidadian history and culture. His latest novel is From the Gates of Aksum.
Neil Bissoondath is a Trinidadian writer based in Canada where he now teaches Creative Writing at Université Laval. In 1986 he won the McClelland and Stewart award and the National Magazine award for his short story Dancing. In 2010 he was made a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec. His latest novel is The Soul of All Great Designs. He is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Malika Booker is a British writer of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage. She is co-founder of Malika’s kitchen, a writer’s collective based in London, Chicago and New York. She was the first Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her latest book is Pepper Seed.
Ruth Borthwick is the Chief Executive of the Arvon Foundation, a British charitable organization which promotes creative writing and is co-administrator of the Hollick Arvon Prize for emerging Caribbean writers. She is the former Head of Literature at the South Bank in London and a former member of the Arts Council of Great Britain’s Literary Panel.
NoViolet Bulawayo is a Zimbabwean author. Her novel We Need New Names was shortlisted for the Etisalat Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Prize, making her the first black African woman to be shortlisted for the award. She is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
Margaret Busby, OBE is a British writer, editor and critic who co-founded Allison and Busby publishers in 1967, making her Britain’s youngest and first black woman publisher. She is a former chair of the Commonwealth Book Prize.
David Dabydeen is a Guyanese critic, novelist, academic, winner 1984 Commonwealth Poetry Prize for his first book, Slave Song. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and, since 2010, Guyana’s ambassador to China. His latest book is Johnson’s Dictionary.
Kwame Dawes is a Ghanaian-born Jamaican writer who has published numerous poetry collections, most recently Duppy Conqueror. In 2011 he was awarded the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award in recognition of his generosity to other writers and the broader literary community. He is director of the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica and founder of the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize. He is now Professor of English at the University of Nebraska and editor-in-chief at the journal Prairie Schooner.
Zee Edgell is a Belizean writer, author of four novels, and four short stories. Her first novel, Beka Lamb, won the Fawcett Society Book Prize in 1982. She won the Canute Brodhurst Prize for her short story, My Uncle Theophilus, published in the Caribbean Writer, 1999. She is working on her fifth novel, tentatively titled Moses Kingsley. She is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Bernadine Evaristo, MBE is the author of seven books of fiction and verse fiction, two of which were adapted into BBC Radio 4 plays. A literary critic and editor, she is Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University, London. She has won several awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts. Her most recent book is Mr Loverman. She is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. www.bevaristo.com
Esther Figueroa, Ph.D., is a Jamaican independent filmmaker, writer and linguist. Figueroa writes in a variety of genres — fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose — on a wide range of topics. Limbo is her debut novel. Previous publications include Sociolinguistic Metatheory, and At Home the Green Remains. Her films include the award-winning feature documentary Jamaica for Sale.
A-dZiko Gegele is a poet, playwright and novelist of Jamaican and Nigerian parentage. She completed a residency at the prestigious Yaddo Artists’ Retreat and participated in the Cropper Residency and Calabash Writers Workshops. Her work has been published in numerous international anthologies, and her first novel All Over Again is shortlisted for the 2014 Burt Award.
Lorna Goodison was born in Jamaica, and has won numerous awards for her writing in both poetry and prose, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Musgrave Gold Medal from Jamaica. Along with her award winning memoir From Harvey River, she has published three collections of short stories (including By Love Possessed, 2011) and nine collections of poetry, the most recent of which, Oracabessa, is longlisted for the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize.
Keith Gray, critically acclaimed British author, writes coming of age novels for young adults and children. He has written more than ten books including Warehouse, shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award and winner of the Angus Book Award; Marlarkey, shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize and winner of the South Lanarkshire Book Award; and Ostrich Boys, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and Costa Children’s Book Award.
Allan Guthrie is a Scottish literary agent, editor, and crime writer. His first novel Two-Way Split, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, and won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2007. His most recent novel is Slammer.
Joanne Hillhouse is an Antiguan and Barbudan writer. She has won fellowships to Breadloaf, Callalloo, and the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute and has been awarded a UNESCO prize as well as the David Hough Literary Prize. Her manuscript Musical Youth is shortlisted for the 2014 Burt Award.
Kevin Jared Hosein is a Trinidadian writer and poet whose short story “The Monkey Trap” is featured in Peepal Tree Press and Akashic Books’ upcoming anthology, Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. His poem, The Wait is So, So Long, was adapted into a short film which was awarded a Gold Key at the New York-based Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Littletown Secrets is his debut book.
Debbie Jacob is a journalist, librarian, and English teacher. She is Head Librarian at the International School of Port of Spain and a columnist for the Trinidad Guardian. Born in the United States, she has lived in Trinidad for over 20 years. Her most recent book is Wishing for Wings.
Barbara Jenkins is a Trinidadian writer known mostly for short stories and life writing. She is the winner of multiple awards, including the Caribbean region prize in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 2010 and 2011, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize for Life Writings, and the 2013 Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize. Sic Transit Wagon is her debut book.
Anthony Joseph is a Trinidadian poet, novelist, musician and Creative Writing lecturer based in London. His publications include three volumes of poetry and a novel, The African Origins of UFOs. Joseph lectures in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College and is currently studying towards a PhD at Goldsmiths. His latest collection is Rubber Orchestras.
Linton Kwesi Johnson is a Jamaican poet who revolutionized literary English with his electrifying fusion of oral verse, Jamaican Creole, radical politics and dub rhythms. In 1981 he founded his own record label, LKJ, and in 2002 he became the second living poet and the only black poet to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series with his book Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems. He is the Chief judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Earl Lovelace is a Trinidadian novelist, journalist, playwright, and short story writer who is widely recognized as a leading Caribbean writer. His novel, The Dragon Can’t Dance, has been translated into five languages and is described as a landmark in contemporary literature and a Caribbean classic. He has won numerous awards including he 1997 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for his novel Salt and the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for his latest novel, Is Just a Movie. He has also been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Trinidad and Tobago Chaconia Gold Medal, and Honorary Doctorate of Letters from UWI St. Augustine, and a NALIS Lifetime Literary Achievement Award.
Vladimir Lucien is a St Lucian poet. He studied Literature and Theatre Arts in UWI, Trinidad. His debut collection is Sounding Ground.
Kellie Magnus is a Jamaican children’s writer and journalist, author of Little Lion Goes to School and the Max and Friends series, among others. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Columbia University and is currently vice-president of the Book Industry Association of Jamaica and coordinator of CaribLit. She owns the small publishing company Jackmandora.
Sunity Maharaj is the Managing Director of the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies. She is a career journalist of over 35 years’ experience and also runs her own multi-media production and consulting company. She is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Sharon Millar is a Trinidadian writer and winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story “The Whale House”. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Massachusetts and was featured in the New Talent Showcase in Bocas 2013.
Denise Mina is a Scottish crime writer, playwright, and comic book writer. Her first novel, Garnethill, won the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasy Dagger Award for best first crime novel. In 2001 her novel The Field of Blood was filmed and broadcast by the BBC. Her latest book is Gods and Beasts from the Alex Marrow series.
Mervyn Morris (chair, poetry judges) is a Jamaican poet and professor emeritus at UWI, Mona. He is the author of Making West Indian Literature (2005), “Is English We Speaking” and Other Essays (1999) and six books of poetry. His latest book is Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Identity. He is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Philip Nanton is a poet and short story writer. He lives and works in Barbados as a writer and lecturer at the University of the West Indies. He has written and presented Caribbean culture programmes on BBC Radio. A poet and spoken word artist, he is the writer and producer of the CD, Island Voices.
Grace Nichols is a Guyanese poet and children’s writer whose first collection, I Is a Long-Memoried Woman, won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. A subsequent film adaptation of the book was awarded a gold medal at the International Film and Television Festival of New York. The book was also dramatised for radio by the BBC. Her latest collection is I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected Poems.
Ingrid Persaud is a Trinidadian writer and artist living in Barbados. Her writing has been featured in several magazines. If I Never Went Home is her first novel.
Caryl Phillips is a St.Kitts-born British novelist, playwright and essayist, currently Professor of English at Yale University. His novel, A Distant Shore, won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and Crossing the River was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He also wrote the award-winning screenplay for the adaptation of V.S. Naipaul’s novel The Mystic Masseur. He is the author of fourteen works of fiction and non-fiction, most recently In the Falling Snow.
Jeremy Poynting is the founder of publishing house Peepal Tree Press based in the UK, a leading publisher of Caribbean fiction and poetry. As a literary critic he has published widely in journals such as The New Voices and Journal of Commonwealth Literature, among others, on the topic of Indo-Caribbean literature.
Jennifer Rahim is a Trinidadian poet, winner of the 2010 Casa de las Americas Prize for her poetry collection Approaching Sabbaths. Her latest book is Ground Level.
Kenneth Ramchand is a Professor Emeritus of West Indian Literature at the University of the West Indies and a former President of the University of Trinidad and Tobago. He is known as the most prominent living critic of Caribbean fiction and was awarded a Trinidad and Tobago Chaconia Medal for his work in literature, and a NALIS Literary Achievement Award. He is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Gordon Rohlehr is a Professor Emeritus of West Indian Literature at UWI, St. Augustine. He has published extensively on the topic of Calypso, West Indian literature, and popular culture in the Caribbean. He has been visiting professor to Harvard and John Hopkins University, among others, and in 1995 he was awarded the University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.
Nilanjana Roy is an Indian journalist and literary critic, author of The Wildings, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. She writes a weekly column for the Business Standard and is a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times. Her latest book is The Hundred Names of Darkness.
Hazel Simmons-McDonald (chair, non-fiction judges) is a Professor of Applied Linguistics and the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies Open Campus. She has edited anthologies of poetry and prose, and serves on the editorial board of Poui, a journal of creative writing. She has published poetry and short fiction, and was among eleven writers of short fiction listed for consideration for the first Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize.
Colleen Smith Dennis is a Jamaican writer who currently works as a High School English teacher. She is the author of three books including Inner City Girl, shortlisted for the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
Amanda Smyth is an Irish-Trinidadian writer. Her first novel, Black Rock, won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger in 2010 and was selected for the Waterstones New Voices in 2009. She was awarded an Arts Council grant for her latest book, A Kind of Eden.
Mervyn Taylor is a Trinidadian poet based in the US. He is the author of four collections, most recently The Waving Gallery.
Johnny Temple is the founder of publishing house Akashic Books based in NY. He is also the bass guitarist of the successful band Girls Against Boys and chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council. He edited the short story collection USA Noir.
Marjorie Thorpe was Campus and University Dean of the Faculty of Arts and General Studies at UWI, St Augustine. She has published articles and conference papers on the topics of women in literature, gender and development, and sustainable human development. From 1988 to 1992 she was Trinidad and Tobago’s ambassador to the United Nations, and in 1992 she was appointed Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), New York. She is the Deputy Chief judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Boyd Tonkin studied literature at Cambridge University before becoming an award-winning journalist. Until recently the Literary Editor of The Independent, he is now the newspaper’s Senior Writer. He has reported on cultural and social issues from more than 30 countries. In addition to judging the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize annually since 2001, he has judged many other awards including the Booker Prize. He is a judge of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw is a Trinidadian writer, daughter of the Nobel laureate Derek Walcott. She received a doctorate in French Literature and is now a senior lecturer and coordinator at UWI, St Augustine, specializing in francophone Caribbean literature and nineteenth-century French poetry. This year she is launching her new novel, Mrs B.
Roland Watson-Grant is a Jamaican writer, advertising copywriter and creative director. He started his literary career by writing thirty-second short stories for radio and television in Jamaica and in 2011 he was awarded the Lightship International Literary Prize in England. Sketcher is his debut novel.