OCM Bocas Prize 2020 Longlist

Scrolling through my Instagram feed this morning I came across the announcement of the OCM Bocas Prize 2020 Longlist (9 longlist nominees), which I hadn’t heard of this prize.  This OCM Bocas Prize was first launched in 2011 and it awards Caribbean authors who hold citizenship or were born in the Caribbean.  Each category will be judged by three judges per category.  They will determine the shortlists and the final winners. I couldn’t find any information on who would be judging this year.  Here’s a list of the countries considered for this prize:

Anguilla                                               Unknown-1                                             

Antigua and Barbuda

Aruba

The Bahamas

Barbados

Belize

Bermuda

Bonaire

British Virgin Islands

Cayman Islands

Cuba

Curaçao

Dominica

Dominican Republic

French Guiana

Grenada

Guadeloupe

Guyana

Haiti

Jamaica

Martinique

Montserrat

Puerto Rico

Saba

St Barthélemy

St Kitts and Nevis

St Lucia

St Martin/Sint Maarten

St Vincent and the Grenadines Sint Eustatius

Suriname

Trinidad and Tobago

Turks and Caicos

US Virgin Islands

There are three judging categories for the Bocas Prize:  fiction, poetry, and literary non-fiction.  Under the fiction category both novels and short story collections are included.  The non-fiction category accepts a plethora of works such as essay books, biographies, autobiographies, current affairs, travel, history, etc.  Eligible books for this 2020 prize must be published in the calendar year of 2019 and be written originally in English. No translated works are accepted. So that’s a bit of a shame because that means most of the Francophone and Hispanphone authors will be left out of this prize. The overall winner of this prize will take home $10,000 and for the other categories the winners will win $3,000.  The 2020 prize longlist was just announced. The shortlist will be announced in April 2020 and the overall winner will be abounded on May 2, 2020 at the Trinidad and Tobago’s Literary Festival in Port of Spain.

Longlisted books:

POETRY

Honeyfish, by Lauren K. Alleyne (Peepal Tree Press)

Skin Can Hold, by Vahni Capildeo (Carcanet Press)

Epiphaneia, by Richard Georges (Out-spoken Press)

FICTION

The Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins (Viking UK)

Everything Inside, by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf)

A Tall History of Sugar, by Curdella Forbes (Akashic)

NON-FICTION

Moments of Cooperation and Incorporation: African American and African Jamaican Connections, 1782–1996, by Erna Brodber (University of the West Indies Press)

Beyond Coloniality: Citizenship and Freedom in the Caribbean Intellectual Tradition, by Aaron Kamugisha (Indiana University Press)

Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging, by Tessa McWatt (Scribe)

I will be reading the fiction section since these three books have been on my TBR since last year. I’m particularly curious about A Tall History of Sugar published by one of my favorite independent publishing houses, Akashic Books.  Although I have high expectations for all three. Are you interested in reading any of the books on this longlist? Have you heard of this Caribbean literary prize?

 

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My Thoughts on Women’s Prize 2020 Longlist

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The Women’s Prize 2020 longlist was just announced very late in the evening few days ago.  I woke up to the news on Twitter the next day.  As disappointed as I was with the prize last year, you’re probably wondering what the heck am I doing on here posting about it this year.  I couldn’t resist checking out the longlist.  I wanted to see who they included and who they left out.  This is the Prize’s 25th year so I secretly hoped they’d get it right, but no.  They chose 16 books but as always there is at least one that makes you scratch your head and say to yourself, “What’s that doing there?”  Yes, I’m referring to Queenie, the book that the British are marketing as a black Bridget Jones Diary.  Smh… The last time I checked that book was NOT funny at all.

Of the 16 books on the longlist I’ve only read 2: Queenie ♥ and Red at the Bone ♥♥♥♥♥ (loved, beautifully written).  Despite that there are a few that I actually own and are planning to read like Girl, Woman, Other, Fleishman’s in Trouble, The Most Fun We Ever Had, and lastly The Dutch House.  I would like to eventually pick up Girl, Dominicana, and The Mirror and the Light (I haven’t read Bring Up the Bodies yet), but I don’t own these books yet.  So no pressure for me. I won’t be reading through the entire list this year, just the ones I’ve got.

Combing this list the first time I was shocked to see that Ducks Newburyport, The Parisian, The Confessions of Franny Langdon, and Patsy weren’t on the list. I was thrilled to see that The Testaments wasn’t on the list. Whew! What a relief! The judges say they are looking for something different and something that they’ll find hard to put down.  Well we’ll see the real direction they go in when they announce the shortlist on April 22.  The winner will take home a 30,000£ check and limited-edition bronze figurine called Bessie created by the artist Grizel Niven on June 3.  I’m already predicting that Queenie, The Mirror and the Light, and Actress will make it on the shortlist. Let’s see if I’m right. 😉

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As for the judges, we have:

Martha Lane Fox (The Chair of Judges): businesswoman, philanthropist, public servant

Scarlett Curtis:  writer, activist

Melanie Eusebe:  co-founder of the Black British Business Awards

Viv Groskop:  author, comedian

Paula Hawkins: international bestselling author

 

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The Last Thing You Surrender – Leonard Pitts, Jr. Live Discussion

This was a great discussion to end Black History Month.  We were also blessed to have Leonard Pitts, Jr for the second half of the discussion.  He’s really brilliant! This live discussion contains spoilers so if you haven’t finished reading you might want to wait until you do. Enjoy!

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge - Days 25 & 26

Day 25 – Drink & Book(s)

Today I decided to take a picture of one of my favorite mugs (New Orleans – Bourbon St. mug) and a nice chunk of my ReadSoulLit shelves.  It always makes me very happy to drink a great cup of tea and to read a good book.  Nothing can beat that.  This last week has been colder and raining and being sick hasn’t helped.  If anything I’ve definitely got the reading in.  February is coming to a quick close and hopefully ReadSoulLit books will continue to remain in our minds for the rest of 2020.  What do you like to drink while you’re reading?

 

Day 26 – Happy Feet & a Book

I couldn’t resist. I had to take a picture of some great books, my J. California Cooper collection, and my Dr. Marten dupes.  Those books are so underrated. If you haven’t read a short story collection from Cooper, what rock have you been living under. Go out right now and get your hands on one of her brilliant short story collections.  You won’t be disappointed.  I recommend Homemade Love. It’s one of my favorites.

 

ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 23 & 24

Day 23 – Eternally Classic 

Phenomenal Woman Four Poems Celebrating Women is definitely eternally classic….. The video below is of Maya Angelou reciting Phenomenal Woman.  It’s hard to believe she isn’t here anymore.                                                 img_2258

Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

 

Day 24 – Starts with the First Letter of your name

img_2266Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore  is not one of the titles I hear readers speak about from Walter Mosley.  Released in 2014, its provocative cover attracted me immediately.  I was curious and even more intrigued about reading it.  Debbie a famous porn star tries to change her life, after her husband is found dead in a hot tub at their home.  The novel revolves around her attempts to change what is expected if her and how the adult industry and fans react to her change.  Mosley really tries to put himself in a woman’s shoes.  It’s an interesting exploration on life change and how difficult that can be to succeed.  This is one that flew under the radar but that was a lot better than I thought. I rated it a 3,5 stars and am anxious to read more books by Mosley with female main characters in stand alone novels. Great video below of Mosley talking about Debbie Doesn’t Do it Anymore. Excellent!

 

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate link for The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 21 & 22

Day 21 –  December Wrap Up

img_6461My December 2019 ended with a bang because I was lucky enough to read The Nickel Boys, Red at the Bone, and In West Mills. All three were five-star reads for me.  The Nickel Boys was saddening but a wonderfully told story shedding light on the horrors that took place in a real reform school in Florida.  Red at the Bone explored how an unexpected pregnancy affects an entire family.  Beautifully written and slightly melancholic,  Jaqueline Woodson manages to paint a meaningful portrait of a black American family.  Lastly In West Mills is a story of community and how community can become family and how living one’s life freely can be difficult in a small town.  Short and sweet In West Mills has unforgettable characters and lively dialogue.  It’s amazing how much De’Shawn Charles Winslow says in this novel in so few pages.  I highly recommend all three books.  Check out the video below to hear what Roxane Gay’s Book club thought aboutRed as the Bone.

 

Day 22 – Single Ladies

The Blackbirds was the first novel that came to mind when I thought of single ladies.  Kwanza, Indigo, Destiny, and Ericka will have you smiling, laughing, and shaking yourimg_2250 head throughout, despite their individual troubles.  Eric Jerome Dickey doesn’t leave anything out from  a cheating ex-fiance, crushes, alias, illness, etc.  All of that is glued together with a little erotica.  This book was surprisingly longer than I’d expected – just a bit over 500 pages.  I read it and rated it five stars but found myself missing Dickey’s writing style from his older novels which I feel are written so much better.

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate link for The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Days 19 & 20

 

Day 19 – Celebrate Good Times

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate good times other than with friend, family, great food and drink. So this cookbook Jubilee: Recipes from two centuries of African American Cooking by Toni TiptonMartin came immediately to mind. I have a thing for cookbooks. I can read them like novels. Cooking I feel is a great way to get to know someone, understand how they function on many different levels. However this post is about celebration and Jubilee is the cookbook to bring some serious flavor to the festivities. A few of the recipes I’m interested in trying out on my friends and family are the orange biscuits for a nice brunch, the braised lamb shanks with peanut sauce for Sunday lunch, and the moist rich Devil’s Food Cake for afternoon tea. Of course there are many more interesting recipes as well as some historical information through recounting all about the tradition and background of the different recipes. She even cites other cookbooks she used to do research to choose these recipes for the book. I highly recommend it. The video below Tipton-Martin discusses her first hit cookbook called The Jemima Code: two centuries of African American Cookbooks.

 

https://youtu.be/W6ZSryGTjyE

 

 

Day 20 – Published in September

I thought I was going to have to comb my shelves for ages to find a book published in September, but actually I remembered that both Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, My Home were both published in September. Even though I decided to look to see how long it would take me to find another book published in September and sure enough four books later I was holding Dear Haiti, Love Alaine in my hands. I received this book from a book buddy, Forsaken707, Kesha as a birthday gift. haven’t picked it up yet but can’t wait since I’ve noticed its format is epistolary, notes, emails and text. Love when authors use letters to write stories. The special thing about this book is that it’s written by two sisters who are Haitian-American. So I suspect it will contain themes about integration, immigration, Haitian culture, and race. Once I read it I’ll surely be back to let you know what I think about it. Check the video below where the authors talk about what their goals were in writing Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.

 

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 17 & 18

 

Day 17 – A 2010s Classic

I couldn’t resist choosing Lighthead by Terrance Hayes. This was the first collection I read. Y him which wasn’t suggested to me by Danielle from Dani! Dany! Danie! On Instagram. I was not disappointed. His poetry is meaningful, intentional, and creative. I know poetry can often times turn readers off, but Hayes’ poetry is not at difficult to understand or appreciate. Some of my favorite poems from this collection are Lighthead’s Guide to Addiction, Fish Head for Katrina, and Twenty-six Imaginary T-shirts. His poems come to life when spoken aloud. Not only do these poems have deep meaning but they also have beautiful flow and rhythm that you can appreciate in the video just below. Enjoy!

 

Day 18 – Musical Youth YA

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I don’t often read YA novels but this category immediately made me think about On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. This second novel is even better than her first The Hate U Give. She really pulled out all the stops with characters that feel like real people, a more complex storyline, and a bit of rap to top it all off. I listened to it on audiobook and found that it was read to perfection. I highly recommend it. I can say I was genuinely invested in Bri’s story. I can’t wait to see what Angie Thomas writes next. You can check her out in the video below talking about this hit second book.

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate link for The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 15 & 16

Day 15 – Cuz This Is Thriller! 

Thrillers aren’t the genre I go to the most but they are starting to be the ones that I go to to img_2143decompress from all of the serious reads I pick up.  I chose Blanche Cleans Up (The Blanche White series #3) by Barbara Neely and A Little Yellow Dog (The Easy Rawlins series #5) by Walter Mosley because these are the two mystery series that I need to finish and to get moving along on.  The Blanche White series sadly only contains four books.  Once I’m finished with book four I know I’m going to miss reading about Blanche.

Easy Rawlins is another series that is full of surprises since with each book time is passing and the secondary characters are becoming more and more fascinating and Easy is taking us along on his more and more unpredictable cases, while we follow the changes happening to him and the other prominent characters.  This series contains a total of 14 books, so I hope to be able read a bit more from this series.  Next month for #MarchMysteryMadness, these will fit in perfectly with theme being the number 5. Check out this video to hear more about it.

 

Day 16 – Last Finished

img_2155What can I say.  The last book I finished was the incredible epic ReadSoulLit Readalong novel, The Last Thing You Surrender. And I surrendered everything! Lawd! That novel took me through all kinds of emotions.  It’s a brilliant story with larger than life characters who you aren’t likely to forget.  I’m still missing reading about Thelma, Luther, and George.  If you haven’t decided yet about picking this book up there is still time to start and finish it before our live discussion on Saturday, February 29.  I highly recommend this great American masterpiece.  It’s a hidden gem that has literally not been talked about at all that was released last year.  Check out this video where Leonard Pitts, Jr. talks about something that he illustrates very well in his novel The Last Thing You Surrender. Brilliant storyteller!

 

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate link for The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 13 & 14

Day 13 – Biography or Memoir

img_2118I chose the memoir by Michaela De Prince called Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina.  After hearing her story on television many years ago, I was motivated to read her story.  I haven’t yet read this one but I have a feeling it’s going to be very interesting.  After living in an orphanage in Sierre Leone where she was badly treated because she suffers from vitiligo and was called the devil’s child because she was the least favorite, she was motivated by a picture she saw in a magazine of a ballerina en pointe that she found outside the orphanage.  That picture gave her something positive to focus on.  She was eventually adopted by the De Prince family and she’s become an excellent dance with hard work and dedication.  She currently dances in a Dutch company.

I’ve always loved ballet and did ballet from age 5 to 17 years old.  Back in the day thereimg_3574 weren’t any black ballerina’s.  I would have liked to be inspired by a black ballerina, so it’s nice to see there are more of them today.  It would be nice to have even more of them, especially in the States.  The picture on the right is me in my ballet class.  I must have been about 12 years old there.  Click on the video below to see Michaela De Prince dancing.  It’s absolutely beautiful!

 

Day 14 – Black Love

Today is Valentine’s Day!  So I went rummaging for a title of a black love story that maybe wouldn’t come up on the Instagram feed.  Something different.  I found quite a few obvious ones like An American Marriage and Loving Donovan, but in the end I decided to go with another TBR book, a romance called Zachary’s Wings by Rosemarie Robotham.  This is the story of Zachary and Korie who have a passionate love affair despite their different upbringings.  Zachary is a social worker from a working-class family and Korie is an Ivy-league-educated reporter and Jamaican born.  Clearly there relationship will be tested but hopefully it will survive.  The story covers themes of race, class, and sexuality, so it sounds right up my alley.  This book was published in 1998 and was Robotham’s debut novel.  So let me know down below if you’ve read this one or anything else by her and what you thought of it.  It would be nice to read this one after a heavy read.

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate link for The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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