The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature 2021

The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature 2021 longlist will be announced in March 2021.


The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is an annual award for literary books by Caribbean writers, first presented in 2011. Books are judged in three categories: poetry; fiction — both novels and collections of short stories; and literary non-fiction — including books of essays, biography and autobiography, history, current affairs, travel, and other genres, which demonstrate literary qualities and use literary techniques, regardless of subject matter. (Note: textbooks, technical books, coffee-table books, specialist publications and reference works are not eligible.)

There will be a panel of three judges for each category, who will determine category shortlists and winners.

The three category winners will then be judged by a panel of four judges — consisting of the chairs of the category panels and the prize chair — who will determine the overall winner.

The author of the book judged overall winner will receive an award of US$10,000. The other category winners will receive US$3,000.

The 2021 winner will be announced during the virtual NGC Bocas Lit Fest, 23 – 25 April 2021.


To be eligible for entry for the 2021 prize, a book must:

  1. Have been first published in the calendar year 2020 (1 January to 31 December);
  2. Have been written by a single author who either holds Caribbean citizenship or was born in the Caribbean (this must be verified by the publisher), regardless of current place of residence; 
  3. Have been written by an author who is living on 31 December, 2020;
  4. Have been written and first published in English originally (i.e. translations are not eligible);
  5. Be a new work, previously unpublished in book form (though collections including poems, stories, essays, or other short pieces that have individually appeared in print in periodicals or anthologies are eligible). 

Judges for the 2021 Prize

Overall Judge

Vahni Capildeo, Trinidad & Tobago/ United Kingdom


Opal Palmer Adisa (Chief Judge), Jamaica

Kaie Kellough, Canada

Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, Trinidad & Tobago


Malachi McIntosh, United Kingdom

Tiphanie Yanique, US Virgin Islands/ USA  

Roland Gulliver, United Kingdom


Rosamond S. King, Trinidad and Tobago / USA

Blake Morrison, United Kingdom

Gaiutra Bahadur, Guyana/ USA  

Download and review the OCM Bocas Prize 2021 eligibility and entry guidelines for more information.

The OCM Bocas Prize requested both digital and print copies of each entry for 2021:  a PDF file of the book uploaded with the online entry form, and five copies of the book mailed via reliable courier to The Bocas Lit Fest.

Deadline for books published before 31 October, 2020, was 9 November, 2020. Books published between 31 October and 31 December, 2020, were accepted for entry by the second deadline, 8 January, 2021.




  • Books must be entered by their publishers (though judges may call in further books at their discretion).
  • Books much be available for purchase in hardcopy, i.e. books that are only available as e-books are not eligible.
  • Publishers must complete the online entry form for each title, and upload a PDF of the final book file.
  • Publishers must also provide five physical copies of each title entered sent by reliable courier to The Bocas Lit Fest.
  • Publishers must agree to provide a further eight copies of shortlisted titles.
  • Self-published books may be submitted by their authors, following the same procedure outlined for publishers. Self-published authors should provide their own contact information on the entry form.
  • There is no requirement for publishers of eligible books to be located in the Caribbean.
  • Each publisher may enter a maximum of five books per category (poetry, fiction, non-fiction), for a maximum of fifteen titles per publisher. A book may be entered in only one category. Publishers must get authors’ consent for entry.
  • There is an entry fee of US$35 (TT$240) per title. We can accept US dollar bank drafts (drawn on American banks only) made payable to The Bocas Lit Fest or credit card payments made online through WiPay Caribbean (link to pay sent once the entry form is received). Please select your payment option in the online form. Note: Trinidad and Tobago authors or publishers can pay in local currency.
  • Each entry should be accompanied by a short biographical note on the author. Publishers must also provide digital photos of shortlisted authors.
  • Books will be accepted for entry at the discretion of The Bocas Lit Fest. Decisions on eligibility are final.
  • Books published before 31 October, 2020, must be delivered to the Bocas Lit Fest (or directly to judges, where applicable) by 9 November, 2020. ONLY books published between 31 October and 31 December, 2020, will be accepted for entry by the second deadline, 8 January, 2021. Eligible books that arrive after each deadline date will not be considered and entry fees will not be returned. There will be no exceptions to this rule.
  • Publishers must send the books by courier to the Bocas Lit Fest office to guarantee timely arrival and onward dispatch to judges:

Bocas Lit Fest
Attn: OCM Bocas Prize
14 Alcazar Street
St. Clair
Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: 1 868 222-7099

  • However, if a publisher is located in the same country as one of the category judge(s), one copy of the relevant title should be sent directly to that judge. Other copies should be sent to the Bocas Lit Fest at the above stated address. Please contact the prize administrators at for the names and locations of relevant judges.
  •  The 2021 prize longlist will be announced in March 2021. The shortlist will be announced in April 2021. The overall winner will be announced at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival in Port of Spain, 23 – 25 April 2021.
  • Publishers must agree that extracts from shortlisted books may be published in the Trinidad and Tobago Daily and Sunday Express, for purposes of promoting the winning titles.
  • Publishers should notify authors of titles entered for the prize that the three category winners may be invited to attend and participate in the Festival and the award ceremony in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and are expected to record a filmed interview.
  • Category winners and the overall winner of the OCM Bocas Prize are expected to be willing to represent the Prize at international festivals and other fora if invited to do so. Please confirm that the writer whose work is being submitted would be prepared to accept this condition of entry.
  • Publishers must use a reliable international courier (not regular air mail) to send entries, to ensure prompt delivery. The word “gift” must be marked on the air waybill and commercial invoice, and the description must clearly state that the books are “for review purposes only”.

For any queries about eligibility requirements or the submission process, please contact the prize administrators at

Definition of the Caribbean

For the purposes of the OCM Bocas Prize, the Caribbean is defined as including the following countries and territories:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • French Guiana
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Montserrat
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saba
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Martin/Sint Maarten
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos
  • US Virgin Islands

NB: books entered for the OCM Bocas Prize must be originally written and published in English.