March 29, 2011

The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature: Shortlist

From left: Edwidge Danticat, Derek Walcott, and Tiphanie Yanique

A Nobel laureate, a MacArthur “genius” fellow, and a first-time author are finalists for the 2011 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, sponsored by One Caribbean Media.

On 28 March, 2011, the Prize judges announced the winners of the three genre categories, who are now finalists for the overall Prize, which comes with an award of US$10,000.

Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, who was previously given a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” in 2009, is the non-fiction category winner for the 2011 OCM Bocas Prize, for her essay collection Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work. The judges describe the book as “thoughtful, interesting, and varied in its insights, often moving, and beautifully written, in a passionate yet restrained style.”

St. Lucian Nobel laureate Derek Walcott is the poetry category winner, for his book White Egrets, which has already won the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize. The OCM Bocas Prize judges call it “a superb collection . . . that speaks for all of us who live and love and can’t ever take our eyes off the wonder of the world around us.”

The fiction category winner is How to Escape a Leper Colony, the debut short fiction collection by Tiphanie Yanique of the US Virgin Islands. “Extremely touching but never sentimental,” say the judges, “this is a wonderfully engaging gathering of stories by a genuinely gifted writer.”

The overall winner of the 2011 OCM Bocas Prize will be announced on 30 April, during the first annual Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain (28 April to 1 May). The festival schedule includes readings from all three shortlisted books, and Tiphanie Yanique will participate in the programme.

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