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Bocas Lit Fest Announces Impressive Line-Up

Earl Lovelace

An impressive line-up of writers have been announced for the 2nd Annual NGC Bocas Literary Festival, Port of Spain. Writers for this year’s festival include Michael Anthony, George Lamming, Erna Brodber, Mervyn Morris and Kei Miller.

The core events of the festival will take place at the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago and Old Fire Station, April 26 - 29, 2012. This year’s writers hail from across the Caribbean including Cuba (Achy Obejas), Guyana (Fred D’Agular), St. Lucia (Kendel Hippolyte), Haiti (Myriam Chancy), and Barbados (Karen Lord) and of course, Trinidad and Tobago including Kenneth Ramchand, Monique Roffey, and Muhamma Muwakil. The strong Jamaican contingent will also include Sharon Leach, Shara McCallum and Kellie Magnus, who will be participating in the children’s event.

Along with the readings, the four-day festival will feature a slew of events including discussions, workshops, the OCM Bocas Debate, films, book launches and the inaugural ‘The Big Idea’ lecture. The lecture, ‘How Different are Human Races and Should We Care’ will be delivered by geneticist Steve Jones.

The announcement of the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is, of course, one of the most eagerly anticipated features of the festival. The inaugural prize was won by Derek Walcott. Loretta Collins Klobah (The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman), Earl Lovelace (Is Just a Movie) and Godfrey P. Smith (George Price: A Life Revealed) have been shortlisted for the prize. All three shortlisted writers, representing poetry, fiction and nonfiction, respectively, will also read at the festival.

Organizers will also be announcing a new prize, this one dedicated to emerging writers and will go toward supporting creation of a manuscript. Bocas Lit Fest 2012 will also provide a platform for new and emerging writers through an open mic segment as well as a new talent showcase featuring Sharon Millar and Rhoda Bharath.

The festival takes its name from Trinidad’s peninsula which connects the Caribbean sea and the Atlantic, ‘Bocas del Dragon’ (the Dragon’s Mouth), and it seems poised to breathe literary fire.