The 2014 NGC Bocas Lit Fest programme included more than 60 events over five days, 23 – 27 April.
The highlights included:
• The Living Word, a celebration of the Caribbean’s poetry and performance traditions, with some of the region’s top poetry talents.
• Bloody Friday, a special event on crime writing, accompanied by a daylong workshop on the popular genre.
• Sunday Launch, the start of a new festival tradition, featuring the debut of an array of exciting new books of fiction and poetry.
• The announcement of As Flies to Whatless Boys by Robert Antoni as the overall winner of the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, a major regional award recognising Caribbean writers of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction; Diana McCaulay, for her manuscript Loving Jamaica, as the winner of the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, supporting an emerging Caribbean writer in completing a book; and writers A-dZiko Simba Gegele, Colleen Smith-Dennis and Joanne Hillhouse as the first, second and third place winners of the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, a new prize recognising Caribbean writers of young adult literature.
• The announcement of literary critics Kenneth Ramchand and Gordon Rohlehr as the winners of the Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters, an annual lifetime achievement award recognising service to Caribbean literature by editors, publishers, critics, and broadcasters.
• Readings by dozens of writers from the Caribbean and further afield, with discussions on topics such as how literature and the arts can address crime and violence, how today’s postcolonial authors are rethinking the historical novel, the contemporary relevance of dub poetry, and how books and reading can change lives.
• A series of events focused on budding and emerging writers: workshops in fiction and poetry; Who’s Next?, a series of readings by up-and-coming writers; and Stand and Deliver, a new open mic series.
• The Verses Bocas Poetry Slam, supported by First Citizens, where spoken word poets competed with their peers for $20,000 worth of prizes. Congratulations to the 2014 winner Idrees Saleem!