Saturday, 5 March 2011

WEST INDIAN LIT: Walcott, Kei Miller among authors vying for new Caribbean book prize

Some ten authors hailing from six different countries are in the running for this year's OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, sponsored by One Caribbean Media. The longlist, announced by the judges on February 28, includes three books of poetry, four works of fiction, and three of non-fiction. The writers range from Nobel laureates to debut authors. These are the nominees in the respective categories:

> Kamau Brathwaite's challengingly complex Elegguas
> Kei Miller's soul-lifting collection A Light Song of Light
> Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott's haunting White Egrets, recently nominated for the 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Poetry), which eventually went to Nikki Giovanni.

> Myriam Chancy's illuminating meditation on Haitian history The Loneliness of Angels
> Karen Lord's traditional storytelling in Redemption In Indigo
> Rabindranath Maharaj's fresh take on the migrant experience The Amazing Absorbing Boy
> Tiphanie Yanique's lyrical and emotionally intimate How To Escape A Leper Colony

> Andre Alexis' collection of literary criticism Beauty and Sadness
> Edwidge Danticat's essay series Create Dangerously
> V.S. Naipual's travel narrative The Masque of Africa, an investigation into the survival of indigenous religious beliefs on the Motherland.

The OCM Bocas Prize is open to books by Caribbean writers published in the previous calendar year, and comes with an award of US$10,000. The judges reportedly read some 60 books entered for the prize, which will be presented for the first time the year. The winners in the three genre categories will be announced on 28 March, and the Prize will be presented on April 30, during the first annual Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

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