Wednesday, February 21, 2018

OCM Bocas winners on the move

Loretta Collins Klobah, winner of the poetry category of the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, is one of the shortlisted poets in the running for a major international poetry prize.

The Twelve Foot Neon Woman, her first collection of poetry, wowed the OCM Bocas Prize judges and did just that with judges in the United Kingdom to make it onto the shortlist of five books in contention for the much coveted Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection.

The prize, part of the Forward Prize, is worth 5,000 to the winner and will be announced on October 3.

The Forward Prizes were founded in 1992 to reward both established and up-and-coming poets and to bring contemporary poetry to a wider audience.

William Sieghart, chairman of the Forward Arts Foundation, said the judges' selection suggested "a vintage year".

"That so many excellent collections and poems did not make the shortlists is testament to the volume of quality poetry which is being published today," he said.

Following her OCM Bocas win and appearance at the 2012 NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain in April, the poet went on to read at the new BIM literary festival in Barbados and at the Calabash literary festival in Jamaica. Her work has also been widely reviewed.

UK publisher of The Twelve Foot Neon Woman, Jeremy Poynting of Peepal Tree Press, points to the important "affirmation" of winning the OCM Bocas Prize poetry category and being in competition with Earl Lovelace. It had opened doors for the very accomplished poet, he said.

Lovelace, overall winner of the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize, has meanwhile been invited to read from his winning novel, Is Just A Movie, at several international literary events.

On Sunday September 23, he will appear at New York's largest literary event, the Brooklyn Book Festival, to take part in a programme hosted by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, together with US-based Trinidadian writers, Anton Nimblett and Victoria Brown, whose novel, Minding Ben, was singled out by the judges of the 2012 OCM Bocas prize. The session will be chaired by Nicholas Laughlin, programme director of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest and editor of the Caribbean Review of Books and Caribbean Beat.

Lovelace will also participate in an exploration of "Absurdism in Fiction" on the same day with popular author Karen Walker Thompson and short story writer Marie-Helene Bertino. The session will be moderated by Andy Tepper of Vanity Fair magazine.