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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Man Booker International Prize 2018 Longlist

I had to come on here to talk about the Man Booker International Prize 2018 longlist.  It looks a lot more interesting than The Women’s Prize 2018 longlist, which didn’t move me one iota.  The Man Booker International Prize always seems to have that right amount of flavor and difference to get a lot of readers of literary fiction interested.  Sadly this year’s list contains no black authors but despite that I’ve found at least 8 books out of the 16 that I’d like to check out at some point; whether they wind up on the shortlist or not.   The shortlist will be announced on April 12th and the winner will be announced on May 22nd.  The judges are all powerhouses in their jobs and that should make it hard for them to agree on the shortlist and in the end the winner.  They will be looking at different aspects of novel-writing and it will be hard to predict which books will wind up on the shortlist.  The judges are being chaired by Lisa Appignanesi OBE, author and cultural commentator.  The panel consists of translator Michael Hofmann, novelist and essayist Hari Kunzru, critic Tim Martin, and novelist and short story writer Helen Oyeyemi.

Happily France has 2 entries with Vernon Subutext 1 by Virginie Despentes and The 7th Function of Language by Lauren Binet.  The former I’ve heard a lot of French people rave about here and the latter I haven’t heard much about but it sounds intriguing, especially since Laurent Binet is known for HHhH which was a very successful novel and adapted to film.  There is a strong Latin representation on this longlist with 3 books from Spain and 1 from Argentina.

The list is very eclectic as usual and all sorts of genres are represented in this longlist.  There’s even a horror book on the list called Frankenstein in Bagdad by Iraqi writer Ahmed Saadawi.  I’m not sure what I’ll be able to read before the shortlist is announced in April or even what I will be able to find, since sometimes some titles may not be readily available.  I’m in no hurry.  If I read anything, firstly I will probably pick up Vernon Subutex 1 and/or The 7th Function of Language because I can get them both here very easily in French.  So that’s my take on this literary prize. Will you be reading anything from this longlist?  Will you be following this prize closely?  If so what are you interested in reading?  I’ll leave the longlist below with the books I’d like to read at some point in bold.

The 13 books on this year’s longlist are:

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Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist 2017

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The 2017 Baileys prize for women’s fiction longlist:

Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò (Canongate)

The Power by Naomi Alderman (Viking)

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood (Hogarth)

Little Deaths by Emma Flint (Picador)

The Mare by Mary Gaitskill (Serpent’s Tail)

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant (Virago)

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride (Faber & Faber)

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose (Corsair)

The Sport of Kings by CE Morgan (4th Estate)

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (Chatto & Windus)

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill (riverrun)

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (Serpent’s Tail)

Barkskins by Annie Proulx (4th Estate)

First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta)

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (Granta)

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain (Chatto & Windus)

So I only guessed two right. Now that I look at the list I should have suspected The Woman Next Door would wind up on the list. So hard to know with this prize.  The books I’m most interested to read are The Sport of Kings, The Power, Do not Say We Have Nothing(on my TBR this year), The Woman Next Door (on my TBR this year), Stay With Me, and finally The Lesser Bohemians.  Sadly the only book I’ve already read on this list is Barkskins.  It will be a tight race for the shortlist.  I’ll be trying to focus on the few I’ve named. So what do you think of this list? Do you feel it’s better than last year’s? I was a little surprised that Swing Time didn’t make it.  Thoughts?

 

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Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017 Longlist Predictions

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is one of the literary prizes  thatI look forward to the most.  It is a prestigious UK  prize, founded in 1996, that honors great women writers from all over the world. Wednesday, March 8th the Baileys Women’s Prize Longlist will be announced.  Traditionally the longlist contains 20 choices however this year it may contain less than that.  Regardless of the amount decided on, the longlist should be extremely competitive.  There have been a plethora of excellent novels from well-known powerhouses as well as debut novelists in the period from April 1, 2016  to March 31, 2017 (of course all novels have to be published in the UK during this period to be eligible).  The list is long and illustrious.  I can’t say I’ve read enough of the books that I think would fit the prize’s longlist this year, but I believe I have a pretty good idea of what might wind up on it.

So here are my predictions starting with the books that I’ve read:

 

From the books I haven’t read yet but looking forward to:

 

And finally for the titles I don’t plan on reading that could make it on the list:

 

Those are my predictions but I could be totally wrong. There are really so many great books by women out there.  So what are your predictions for the Baileys Women’s Prize Longlist 2017?  Do you follow this prize or are you anti-literary prizes?

 

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