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Olive Senior, Austin Clarke and Andre Alexis Among 2016 Bocas Prize Longlist

OCM Bocas Prize 2016 longtlist

The six longlisted books for this year’s OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature have been announced. The contenders include Austin Clarke’s memoir ‘Membering, as well as the novels The Pain Tree by Olive Senior and Six Dogs by Andre Alexis. The annual prize gives awards in poetry, fiction and non-fiction as well as an overall prize of US$10,000.

The three longlisted works for the poetry prize includes two debut poetry collections. Providential (Peepal Tree Press/Akashic Books) by novelist turned poet Colin Channer and Wife (Peepal Tree Press) by Tiphanie Yanique go up for the prize against Andre Bagoo’s sophomore collection, Burn (Shearsman). 

Andre Alexis’ novel Fifteen Dogs (Coach House Books), already decorated by wins of the two major Canadian literary prizes, the Scotia Bank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, goes up against Olive Senior’s The Pain Tree (Cormorant Books) and Sharon Millar’s debut short story collection, The Whale House (Peepal Tree Press. Anna Levi’s Madinah Girl receives a special mention in the category. 

In the non-fiction category Jacqueline Bishop’s medley of stories, essays and interviews The Gymnast and Other Positions (Peepal Tree Press) contends for the prize against Austin Clarke’s memoir 'Membering (Dundurn) and Jenny M Jemmott’s Ties That Bind: The Black Family in Post-Slavery Jamaica, 1834 - 1882 (UWI Press).

Dionne Brand heads up this year’s panel of judges as Overall Chair, with Marjorie Thorpe retaining her position as Vice Chair. The poetry adjudication panel is chaired by Gemma Robinson and includes John Robert Lee and Vivek Narayanan. The fiction panel is chaired by Ramabai Espinet and rounded out by Claire Armistead and Marlon James. J. Michael Dash chairs the non-fiction panel of judges and is joined by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gerbert and Barbara Lalla.

Winners of the category prizes receive a cash award of US$3000 each. The winner will be announced during Bocas 2016, April 27 - May 1, in Port of Spain, Trinidad.