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Three Writers Shortlisted for Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature 2014

Bocas Lit Prize 2014 Shortlist

Visions, ‘whatless’ boys and journeys will be contesting for the 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature as the shortlist for the coveted award was recently announced. The contenders for the 2014 incarnation of the four year old literary prize are Kei Miller’s  Writing Down the Vision, Robert Antoni’s As Flies to Whatless Boys and Lorna Goodison’s Oracabessa

Having been weaned from a field of ten longlisted entrants, the three have been named the winners the three categories of the prize fiction (As Flies to Whatless Boys), poetry (Oracabessa) and non-fiction (Writing Down the Vision). 

The three, will be vying for the overall prize of US$10,000, the winner of which will be announced during the 2014 Bocas Lit Fest. Goodison and Miller are both Jamaican writers while Antoni hails from Trinidad and Tobago.

In a release, featured on the festival website, the judges had high praise for each of the entrants. Goodison’s Oracabessa is published by Carcanet Press and is describe as “a book of risky journeys”. 

“In Oracabessa the distinctive voice of Lorna Goodison — an elegant, captivating fusion of international English and Jamaican Creole — presents segments of autobiography as a series of travels” the judges said. “Goodison’s persuasive art is a many-sided celebration of spiritual search.” 

Goodison, who writes both poetry and prose has previously authored 11 collections of poetry, two short story collections and a memoir. Her body of works include From Harvey River, Controlling the Silver, I Am Becoming My Mother, Guinea Woman and Fool Fool Rose is Leaving Labour in Vain Savannah.

Writing Down the Vision (Peepal Tree Press) is Miller’s first published collection of non-fiction. Like Goodison, he is a poet and fiction writer with three collections of poetry, two novels and a collection of short stories under his belt. Miller’s works include Kingdom of Empty Bellies, The Same Earth and A Light Song of Light, which had been longlisted for the inaugural Bocas Prize for Literature (2011).

“Miller is an original thinker, a writer who knows his own mind and is wary of orthodoxies,” the judges reported. “He is uncompromising and honest in his interrogation of issues and his experiences of the worlds he inhabits, cutting through the normalcy to reveal the realities of these worlds.”

Antoni previously authored four works of fiction including his Commonwealth Prize winning debut novel Divina Trace, as well as Blessed is the Fruit and My Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales

“With mischief, ingenuity, and linguistic verve, Antoni reinvents the idea of the region’s islands as zones of perilous fantasy, where dreams come to grief but still make history,” the judges said.

The overall winner will be selected by a cross-genre panel chaired by Linton Kwesi Johnson. The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 26, 2014. Previous prize winners are Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott (White Egrets, 2011), Earl Lovelace (It’s Just a Movie, 2012) and Monique Roffey (Archipelago, 2013).