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Bocas Lit Fest adds new award
The third annual Bocas Lit Fest has announced a new award and a partnership with the Edinburgh Literary Festival. The Bocas Lit Fest was launched yesterday at the National Library, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, where the literary festival will be held from April 25 to 28. Almost 70 local and international writers will participate in the event, including Earl Lovelace, Pankaj Mishra, Marina Warner, Irvine Welsh, Vahni Capildeo and Teju Cole.
The new award is the Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Literature, said festival director Marina Salandy-Brown. The award is presented to “someone whose work has been critical to the development of Caribbean writers, letters and the publishing industry.” The first award will be given posthumously to John La Rose, founder of the publishing company New Beacon Books.
It is one of four administered by the festival, including the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the first Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize and the Burt Award for writers of literature for young adults. The shortlist for the Bocas Prize was announced last week with Kendel Hippolyte, Monique Roffey and Rupert Roopnarine as finalists. Fourteen writers have been selected as finalists for the Hollick Arvon Prize.
A prize will also be given to the winner of the Verses Bocas Poetry Slam for performance poets which is the festival’s finale. In addition, the Bocas Lit Fest includes readings, film screenings, workshops, lectures and debates. This year’s debate series will include the Caribbean leg of the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, made possible through a partnership with the Edinburgh Literary Festival and the British Council.
The Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference is a travelling conference in 14 countries covering five themes. It is streamed live via the Internet. The themes discussed at Bocas Lit Fest will include: Should literature be political? and, Is there a national literature? “We are excited about this because it will liken T&T with the rest of the world and raise our profile to be known not just as the country of steelpan, calypso and Carnival, but also one with a strong literary heritage and a great literary festival,” said Salandy-Brown.
Other announcements made at the launch:
• The Bocas Children’s Festival starts on April 6 with story-telling sessions nationwide.
• The introduction of the 2013 festival artist, Wendy Nanan.
• The Bocas Lecture will feature neuroscientist Prof Ian Robertson; and partnerships with the T&T Writers Union.
• The Bridge Foundation
• The Adult Literacy Tutors Association of T&T
• The literary magazine Wasafiri.
Bocas Lit Fest will also work with the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development to publish five books on culture and heritage within the next year. For more information about the Bocas Lit Fest, you can visit their Web site at: www.bocaslitfest.com
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