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10 must-attend events at the 2021 NGC Bocas Lit Fest

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival and over the last decade it’s become a cultural staple for its promotion of words and literature, and as an overall celebration of the arts and culture of TT and the wider Caribbean. 

During these times where travel is restricted, the 2021 festival’s entirely virtual format offers an easily accessible opportunity to experience the island’s rich literary heritage. #visitTrinidad

From Friday 23 – Sunday 25 April 2021, you’ll want to soak up as many of the festival’s signature events, performances, author readings, discussions, tributes and ceremonies as possible – there’s even a virtual walking tour of the city of Port of Spain! 

Free to attend, with no registration required, all events will be livestreamed via Bocas’ website – www.bocaslitfest.com, and their YouTube and Facebook pages. 

Here are 10 events from the 2021 festival that you should not miss!

  1. Stand & Deliver

Fri 23 (5 – 5.30 pm) | Sat 24 (3 – 3.30 pm) | Sun 25 (1.30 – 2 pm)

Discover new talent at our signature open mic event for writers of all ages and genres.

2. Dragonzilla’s Children’s Programme

Sat 24 (10 – 10.30 am) | Sun 25 (9 – 10 am)

Let your imagination come to life with stories of our unique heritage, folklore and culture animated and dramatised by some of Trinidad’s best storytellers and orators. Learn about the stickfighting tradition through Lola and the Battle of the Bugs, a dramatic presentation with a phenomenal local young cast.

3. Port of Spain, “A Writer’s Heaven”

Sat 24 (11 – 11:30am) 

Experience the capital city of Trinidad, Port of Spain, like never before. Virtually visit historical landmarks which form the backdrop against which many classic and contemporary literary works were written.

4. Making History: Lawrence Scott & Lauren Francis-Sharma

Sat 24 (3:30 – 4:30pm)

Join Trinidadian authors, Lawrence Scott (Dangerous Freedom) and Lauren Francis-Sharma (Book of the Little Axe), as they discuss their new historical fiction novels that both explore Trinidad in pre-emancipation days. Hosted by Trinidadian writer Ayanna Gillian Lloyd.

5. Raised Voices: Rosamond S. King & Desiree C. Bailey

Sat 24 (5 – 6 pm)

Poetry lover? Tune in to poets Rosamond S. King and Desiree C. Bailey from the TT diaspora, as they chat about their new collections with host Daria-Ann Martineau. They’ll share unique insights into Trinidadian family history, race and migration issues.

6. Winners’ Row

Sat 24 (6:30 – 8 pm)

Celebrate the shortlisted writers for three eminent literary prizes, and tune in as the winner of the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize is announced – this highly-coveted prize is for the best Caribbean book published in 2020.

7. The Big Idea: The Way Ahead

Sun 25 (10:30 am – 12 pm)

Contemplate the big questions facing the Caribbean region in a post-COVID world. Global experts join CARICOM chair and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago to discuss economics, climate change, health and trade in this critical current affairs debate.

8. Extempo Debate

Sun 25 (12 – 12:30 pm)

The issues of the day are debated in true Trini tradition, improv-style, by two of Trinidad’s master Extempo calypsonians, Black Sage and Brian London.

9. Launch of The 100 Caribbean Books That Made Us

Sun 25 (6:30 – 7:30 pm)

The final list of 100 definitive Caribbean books will be revealed! You’ll want to read, discuss and dissect this crowdsourced list of 100 books from 15 islands, across 3 languages, and spanning generations. Literary giant Olive Senior will be joined by a panel to discuss who made the list and who didn’t!

10. Livestream Festival Fillers

Between Events (Fri 23 – Sun 25) 

This one is a bit of a cheat – each day’s stream is continuous, so between festival events look out for these special treats! Comedy, music, gems from the Bocas archives, including author interviews and behind-the-scenes festival insights offer another side of Trinidad culture – as a bonus, you might learn about “zessing”!

The full programme is available here. See you there!