The three finalists (category winners) for the 2017 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature have been announced. Jamaica’s Kei Miller topped the fiction category with his acclaimed Alexander Bedward-inspired yarn Augusttown (Wieidenfeld and Nicolson Press); US-based Jamaican writer Safiya Sinclair (a former contributor to the Observer’s Literary Arts Supplement) won the poetry category, thanks to the impressive depth of her collection Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press) while Angelo Bissessarsingh emerged winner of the non-fiction category with Virtual Glimpses into the Past/ A Work in Time: Snapshots of the History of the Trinidad & Tobago (Queen Bishop Publishing). The top three have now entered the final round of judging and will vie for the overall award of $US10,000, which will be presented on April 29 during the NGC Bocas Literary Fest (April 26-30) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. The judges this year include David Dabydeen, Susheila Nasta and the Jamaican duo of Dr. Kim Robinson-Walcott and Prof. Edward Baugh.
> Hutchinson’s ‘House of Lords’ takes the prize
House of Lords and Commons, Ishion Hutchinson’s latest anthology, has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in the United States. Described “as an exploration of the landscape of Jamaica and Hutchinson’s memories of growing up in Port Antonio,” the collection won rave reviews from the New York Times Book Review, The Guardian and The New Yorker, among other esteemed publications, and is his follow-up to 2010’s Far District. Hutchinson works as Assistant Professor of Poetry at Cornell University, where he mentors in the Creative Writing programme. Meanwhile, this year’s NBCCA judges awarded the coveted fiction prize to Louise Erdrich for her widely praised novel LaRose. The autobiography award went to Hope Jahren (Lab Girl) while Matthew Desmond won the non-fiction award for Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.
> More Poetry: New titles from Jean Small, Mervyn Morris and Ann-Margaret Lim
On the heels of Ann-Margaret Lim’s sophomore collection, Kingston Buttercup, comes Send Me No Flowers, Jean Small’s debut collection that she launch recently at Hope Gardens. Meantime, Prof. Mervyn Morris’ newest anthology, Peelin’ Orange: Collected Poems, is scheduled to be launched at The Undercroft, UWI Mona, on April 20.