Ayanna Lloyd Banwo is OCM Bocas Prize 2023 winner.

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo was named the winner of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature 2023 on Saturday, April 29, 2023.

The OCM (One Caribbean Media) Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, worth US$10,000, is an annual award for literary books by Caribbean writers, first handed out in 2011. Books are judged in three categories: poetry, fiction (both novels and collections of short stories), and literary non-fiction (books of essays, biography and autobiography, history, current affairs, travel, and other genres). Some of the previous overall winners of the prize have been Derek Walcott, Monique Roffey, Kei Miller, Canisia Lubrin, and Celeste Mohammed.

For 2023, the overall chair of the cross-genre judging panel is the past winner of the Booker Prize writer Bernardine Evaristo. Other judges include Richard Georges, poet and academic from the British Virgin Islands and the 2020 winner of the overall OCM Bocas Prize, who chairs the poetry panel, joined by Trinidad-born poet Desiree C. Bailey and Caymanian academic Emily Greenwood. The fiction panel is chaired by Canada-based Jamaican academic Ronald Cummings, joined by Trinidadian-American writer Lauren Francis-Sharma and Barbadian writer Cherie Jones. On the non-fiction panel, chair Lisa Outar, the Guyana-born editor-in-chief of the Journal of West Indian Literature, is joined by Ruth Borthwick, chair of English PEN, and Barbados-based Vincentian writer Philip Nanton.

The shortlists for announced on March 8 before the category winners were named on April 8. The winner was declared to be When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo as part of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest 2023.

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo tweeted, “Wild scenes! So proud of this book. Proud of the grace and warmth of my Caribbean people and the way we love everything that belongs to us. Proud of @irasroom and @adjoseph . Proud of @bocaslitfest for continuing to make dreams come true. Proud of my whole book team. Thank you  ❤️”


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