The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is a major award for literary books by Caribbean writers. Books may be entered in three categories: poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction. The prize includes an award of US$10,000, sponsored by One Caribbean Media. The other category winners receive US$3,000. The winner is announced at the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest at the end of April every year. 

The OCM Bocas Prize has two stages. First, panels of distinguished judges select the best book in each of the three genre categories. Next, the chairs of the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction panels, joined by the overall chair and vice-chair of the prize, form a final prize jury to select the overall winner from the three genre winners.

To be eligible for the prize, a book must have been published in the past calendar year, and written by an author born in the Caribbean or holding Caribbean citizenship. Books must also have been originally written in English. 

The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize

The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize is an annual award, which allows an emerging Caribbean writer living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean to devote time to advancing or finishing a literary work, with support from an established writer as mentor. The prize is offered across three literary genres: fiction in 2019, non-fiction in 2020, and poetry in 2021.

The Prize consists of a cash award of TT $20,000, a year’s mentoring by an established writer, travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive Arvon creative writing course at one of Arvon’s internationally renowned writing houses, and three days in London to network with editors and publishers, hosted by Arvon, in association with the Free Word Centre and a leading London literary agency.

The first winner of the Johnson and Amoy Chong Caribbean Writers Prize will be announced in 2019. The Prize will open for entries in mid-2018. 

The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature

Launched in 2013, CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature is an annual award given to up to three English-language literary works for young adults (aged 12 through 18) written by Caribbean authors. Established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been supporting literacy and learning for over 59 years –  with the generous support of the Literary Prizes Foundation and in partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest, the Award aims to provide engaging and culturally-relevant books for young people across the Caribbean.

Up to three prizes will be awarded each year to the authors. The winning title will be awarded $10,000 CDN, and two finalists will be awarded $2,000.00 CDN.

Publishers of winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of a maximum of 2,500 copies. Copies purchased by the program are donated to select libraries, schools and literacy organizations for distribution throughout the region.

So far, over 37,000 copies of winning titles have been donated to hundreds of locations across 11 Caribbean countries − and thousands more copies of the recently-announced 2017 winners will be distributed later this year.

The intent of the prize is to champion literacy, build language skills and foster the love and habit of reading amongst youth and young adults.

Bocas Henry Swanzy Award

In 2013, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest inaugurated a new annual lifetime achievement award to recognise service to Caribbean literature by editors, publishers, critics, broadcasters, and others. The Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters is named for the late BBC radio producer (1915–2004) who created a landmark platform for Caribbean writing in the 1940s and 50s through the Caribbean Voices programme, which broadcast fiction and poems by West Indian writers across the region.

Each year the NGC Bocas Lit Fest will honour Swanzy’s memory and recognise the achievements of other editors, broadcasters, and critics via the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award. Recipients will be chosen by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest organising committee, and awardees will be invited to attend the festival, speak about their work, and receive the award at a special event.