Bocas Lit Fest 2017

In the 7 years it’s been around, Bocas has grown from strength to strength. The annual literary festival has hosted some of the most successful and interesting writers, publishers and poets of Caribbean, and World literature. And because it’s in Trinidad, there’s a non-pretentiousness to the proceedings that may make your faves seem significantly more approachable.

I’ve always been a fan of Bocas. Especially as a formally voracious reader, who has slowed down significantly. I use Bocas to get me excited about reading again. And it has, not to my old standards, but I’m on the path to being a real reader.

Untold Jamaica - Bocas Lit Fest 2017
Me in the audience for the Untold Jamaica panel featuring Kei Miller, author of Augustown, and Marcia Douglas, author of The Marvellous Equations of the Dread.

I also got to experience Bocas as a journalist. Just before the festival began, I spoke to Founding Director Marina Salandy Brown about the growing influence Caribbean writers is having worldwide. Perhaps, we should be looking towards developing Caribbean literary industry.

And as I mentioned in that piece, the Prime Minister was featured on special panel to discuss his autobiography From Mason Hall to Whitehall. A smart move from a festival that has just been recognised by Penguin Publishing as being one of the 20 best literary festivals in the world. It also allowed them to put the Prime Minister on the spot about his book tax.

It’s also a strategic move from the festival organisers. Because many good things are allowed to whither and die, because they can’t get the support they need. Bringing the Prime Minister, into the festival may help it win some support for it’s projects.

I’ll have more on Bocas, in another post. I may even share my book haul. See you soon.


Danielle Boodoo-Fortune 2016 Wasafiri New Poet

Talented artist Danielle Boodoo-Fortune is the winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize- Poetry for her poem Portrait of my father as a grouper.

Wasafiri is a UK-based international magazine on contemporary writing. It is published quarterly. The name comes from the Kiswahili word for ‘travellers’.The magazine was formed out of a deliberate initiative to introduce a more diverse set of books to British school libraries and reading lists.

She’s also a brilliant artist. I have one of her colouring books, but her watercolours are stunning. She’s just really very talented.


Black Women Writers I Need to Read

I have long promised not only will I read more, but I will read more books from one author. I have my favourites, like Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I own and have read the entire set, 2 of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novels, plus several of her magazine articles and essays. But I jump around so much, so I’ve only read Zadie’s White Teeth and her article on Jay-Z but On Beauty stands untouched on my bookshelf, and I’m only just introduced myself to Nalo Hopkinson.

I will change, I promise.

As many of you know, I’m trying to read a couple Zora Neale Hurston books to get deeper into her not-insignificant bibliography. But she’s not alone on the list of black women whose work I wish I could read and analyze full-time. Who wants to fund a PhD program for me to spend 100% of my time on the following 20 names?

via 20 Black women with killer bibliographies — Brown Books & Green Tea