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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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!

 

 

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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

m

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.

 

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American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin – Terrance Hayes

When I heard about the release of this American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, I knew I had to read it.  I don’t often read poetry but when I do it’s because I’m sure the collection is going to move me.  And this one did that and more.

This collection was savvy, intelligent, angry, creative, and has its pages and words on the pulse of what’s wrong with America.  How does a poet cope with the election of a new president?  Lyrical and rhythmic, Hayes let’s us know what the deal is.  So you need to be ready.  He’s angry. Every sonnet in the collection has the same title, ‘American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin’.  One of the coolest things about this collection is that there is a sonnet index at the back.  The first line of each sonnet with its page number moreover when you read each line in the index it makes another poem.

In this collection, Hayes is the assassin but so are we if we feel as angry as he does.  He makes it clear that we are all linked and that we need to realize that and act like it.  He also reiterates that we’re in the shit! He uses everything from police brutality to pop culture to express his thoughts so if you aren’t up on the news, music, literature, tv, shows, movies, etc., it might be difficult to understand the meaning behind these sonnets.  I personally found them excellent and would recommend them to everyone, especially to Americans.  I’ve already read it twice.  Finding new meaning throughout the collection and I will surely pick it up again.  We are going through a difficult and unprecedented period in the United States that needs to change for the better!  All I can say is read American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin for some consolation and most of all vote!  Check out the video below where Terrance Hayes talks about his writing and reads a few of his poems.  He’s brilliant!

“AMERICAN SONNET FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN

The umpteenth thump on the rump of a badunkadunk
Stumps us. The link, the chump, the hunk of plunder.
The umpteenth horny, honky stump speech pumps
A funky rumble over air. The umpteenth slump
In our humming democracy, a bumble bureaucracy
With teeny tiny wings too small for its rumpled,
Dumpling of a body. Humpty-Dumpy. Frumpy
Suit. The umpteenth honk of hollow thunder.
The umpteenth Believe me. The umpteenth grumpy,
Jumpy retort. Chump change, casino game, tuxedo,
Teeth bleach, stump speech. Junk science. Junk bond.
Junk country, sum speech. The umpteenth boast
Stumps our toe. The umpteenth falsehood stumps
Our elbows & eyeballs, our Nos, Whoahs, wows, woes.”

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins, p. 48 – Terrance Hayes  (Penguin Books) 89 pages, paperback

Rating: 5 stars

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 12 “If you like that, you’ll like this.”

    

The Warmth of Other Suns is my favorite non-fiction for many reasons. It reads like fiction and I learned a lot while reading it. If you haven’t picked it up, you need to. It’s extraordinary! If you like this, you’ll love The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks. This little gem covers her earliest poetry from World War II through the turbulent 1960s until her death in 2000. These poems talk about life in the African-American community – racism, survival, slums, etc. Beautifully lyrical poems that no lover of poetry should miss out on. This poetry collection is a natural extension of The Warmth of Other Suns.

The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson, paperback, 620 pages (Vintage Books)

The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks – Edited by Elizabeth Alexander, hardcover, 142 pages (Literary Classics of the United States, Inc.)

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 10 Book Spine Poetry

Buffalo Dance The Journey of York – Frank X Walker

Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime J. California Cooper

He Never Came HomeRegina R. Robertson

Lost in the CityEdward P. Jones

Drinking Coffee ElsewhereZZ Packer

Nowhere is a PlaceBernice L. McFadden

A Kind of FreedomMargaret Wilkerson Sexton

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 8 – Short Story Collection

The late great writer and poet, Henry Dumas, has been on my TBR for ages. However I didn’t have any of his books until last year when I purchased this short story collection from Coffee House Press. Note that his work isn’t easy to find these days.  His writing has been deemed brilliant and influential. Through his work he developed themes of the Black Aesthetic Movement which was eminent in the 1960s and early 1970s. He was also influenced by Moms Mabley, gospel, jazz, blues, and spirituals. Sadly Dumas was shot to death in 1968 by a New York City Transit Police officer, while waiting on a subway platform. It is believed that his death was a case of mistaken identity, although there is no proof of that. I can’t wait to get into this one!  Here is his brief and exceptional bibliography:

Poetry for My People (1970) (poetry)

Ark of Bones and Other Stories (1974) (short stories)

Play Ebony, Play Ivory (1974) (poetry)

Jonah and the Green Stone (1976) (novel)

Rope of Wind and Other Stories (1979) (short stories)

Goodbye, Sweetwater: New and Selected Stories (1988) (short stories)

Knees of a Natural Man: The Selected Poetry of Henry Dumas (1989) (poetry)

Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas (Coffee House Press, 2003) (short stories)

Quote: (Themes in this quote = slavery, freedom, capitalism, greed, america…)

“If an eagle be imprisoned
on the back of a coin,
and the coin tossed
into the sky,
the coin will spin,
the coin will flutter,
but the eagle will never fly.”
Henry Dumas

 

Echo Tree The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas – Henry Dumas, paperback, 381 pages (Coffee House Press)

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 27 – Book Spine Poetry

Day 27Book Spine Poetry     img_2563

Blacks – Gwendolyn Brooks

Some Sing, Some Cry – Ntosake Shange & Ifa Bayeza

Life  in Motion – Misty Copeland

Crossing the Mangrove – Maryse Condé

The Chosen Place, The Timeless People – Paule Marshall

 

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