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Bocas UK 2022 at the British Library

October 29, 2022, 11:00 AM8:30 PM BST

£10 – £30

The Caribbean’s leading literature festival at the British Library, with Celeste Mohammed, Canisia Lubrin, Shivanee Ramlochan and more.

This event will take place at the British Library. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical), or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.The online version of this event will be live captioned.Join Trinidad and Tobago’s Bocas Lit Fest for a showcase of the best of contemporary Caribbean and diaspora writing, with provocative readings and conversations about history, identity, art and ideas.

Session 1 – Ways in the world
11.00 –12.00Two new memoirs and a collection of autobiographical poems tell stories of displacement and homecoming in the aftermath of complicated history. Hosted by Audrey Brown with Barbara Jenkins, author of the memoir The Stranger Who Was Myself; Ira Mathur, author of Love the Dark Days; Poet Grace Nichols discusses her latest poetry collection Passport to Here and There.


Session 2 – The Trouble With History
12.30 – 13.30
In their new writing – ranging from the 19th to the mid-20th century – these three writers excavate stories of a past that illuminate our present. Hosted by Nicholas Laughlin with Cecil Browne, winner of the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Europe and Canada, for his story A Hat for Lemer; Ingrid Persaud, author of The Vagabond Rajah and Amanda Smyth, author of Fortune.


Session 3 – An Island Is A World
14.00 – 15.00Three writers explore the complex Caribbean through a mosaic of characters and themes, a polyphony of voices and concerns. Hosted by Claire Adam with Celeste Mohammed, author of Pleasantview; Jacob Ross, author of collected stories Tell No-one About This and Celia Sorhaindo, author of Radical Normalisation.


Session 4 – Don’t Call It Magic
15.30 – 16.30If elements of the marvellous recur in Caribbean novels, it’s not because people live fairytale lives. Sometimes the only way to present the intricacy of the Caribbean past and present is through myth and folklore, the supernatural and the speculative. Hosted by Shivanee Ramlochan with Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, author of When We Were Birds; Karen Lord, author of Unravelling and Pauline Melville, author of The Master of Chao.


Session 5 – Mothers, Fathers, Daughters, Sons
17.00 – 18.00Ambitions and betrayals play out in our bloodlines and, for many Caribbean writers, ancestry can be both reassuring and discomfiting. Hosted by Isabelle Baafi with Sophie Jai, author of Wild Fire Anthony Joseph, author of Sonnets for Albert and Shivanee Ramlochan, author of Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting.


Session 6 – Beyond Every Boundary
18.30 – 19.30For many writers of the Caribbean, home is not a straightforward concept. How do we define and understand ourselves, our communities, our solidarities in the collision of nation and imagination? Hosted by Nick Makoha with Canisia Lubrin, author of The Dyzgraphist (winner of the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize) Tessa McWatt, author of Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging (winner of the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Nonfiction) and Nadifa Mohammed, author of 2021 Booker Prize shortlisted The Fortune Men.


Session 7 – Grand Finale
20.00 – 21.00To round off the day, Bocas Lit Fest and Renaissance One present an hour of lyrics, music, and performance. Composer Dominique Le Gendre (cuatro) and actress Gleanne Purcell perform songs from Playboy of the West Indies: a Musical, adapted from Mustapha Matura’s original play. Renaissance One’s We Liming features Grace Nichols, Fred D’Aguiar and Shivanee Ramlochan, composer and vocalist Randolph Matthews and co-hosts the acclaimed poet-wordsmith John Agard and lime curator Melanie Abrahams.

Join us, unwind and go with the flow!Books by all participating writers are on sale at our bookstall in the Entrance Hall. Catch our interval films on the main screen.Netties Caribbean Kitchen will be selling food on the Piazza. The bar, which is located by the bookstall, opens at 17.00.If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event. We are committed to the safety of our event bookers. Find out how we are welcoming you to the Library safely.The British Library is a charity. Your support helps us open up a world of knowledge and inspiration for everyone. Donate today.



October 29, 2022
11:00 AM – 8:30 PM BST
£10 – £30