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April 2011 will be the first time the prize of US$10,000, sponsored by One Caribbean Media, will be awarded.  The short list for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is going to be announced today, March 28.  I will watch for it and put it in the comments.

The long list is 10 works -- 3 poetry, 3 non-fiction, and 4 fiction.  Their titles and authors are below.

The chair of the judges for the OCM Bocas Prize, Arnold Rampersad, was awarded The National Humanities Award by President Barack Obama on March 2, 2011.  Rampersad and Arthur Ashe co-authored a two-volume biography Life of Langston Hughes; Days of Grace: A Memoir.  

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Elegguas, by Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados)
— Wesleyan - poetry

Elegguas—a play on “elegy” and “Eleggua,” the Yoruba deity of the threshold, doorway, and crossroad—is a collection of poems for the departed. Wesleyan Press No Kindle, Yes Amazon.

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A Light Song of Light, by Kei Miller (Jamaica)
 — Carcanet - poetry

Olive Senior . . . 'Some of the most exciting poetry I’ve read in years... An extraordinary new voice singing with clarity and grace.' Carcanet Press No Kindle, Yes Amazon.

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White Egrets, by Derek Walcott (St. Lucia)
 — Faber  - poetry

Walcott carries his surf-like cadence from poem to poem, and from sequence to sequence in this celebratory and close-knit collection. Faber and Faber  No Kindle, Yes Amazon.

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The Loneliness of Angels, by Myriam Chancy (Haiti/Canada)
 — Peepal Tree - fiction

‘Ruth smoothes the plastic covering her memory table as if she is trying to undo wrinkles in time’….The character Rose is even more compelling…a mysterious woman who is either broken and driven to drink by the viciousness of the world around her or who is taken over by Haitian ghosts.  The chapter devoted to her is worth the price of the book.”

– Winnipeg Free Press, 4/7/10   Myriam Chancy web site No Kindle, Yes Amazon.

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Redemption in Indigo - fiction, by Karen Lord (Barbados)
— Small Beer - fiction

In this clever and entrancing debut novel—which won the Frank Collymore Award—Paama frees herself from a troublesome and capricious husband, only to become the unwitting heroine in a fantastic struggle to reconcile the supernatural forces of fate with humanity’s free will.

“A clever, exuberant mix of Caribbean and Senegalese influences that balances riotously funny set pieces (many involving talking insects) with serious drama initiated by meddlesome supernatural beings.”
—New York Times  Small Beer Press  Yes Kindle, Yes Amazon

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The Amazing Absorbing Boy , by Rabindranath Maharaj (Trinidad and Tobago/Canada)
— Knopf Canada - fiction

I can't seem to find anything on this book.  Canada through the eyes of an immigrant.  Here is the Amazon link.  No Kindle, Yes Amazon.

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How to Escape a Leper Colony, by Tiphanie Yanique (US Virgin Islands)
— Graywolf - fiction

“A skillfully crafted collection of short stories that offer ample rewards—vivid characterizations, evocative language—at their finish lines. . . . Unlike a good deal of multicultural fiction, Yanique’s stories look beyond mere ethnicity to locate the subtler strands of human identity.”
—BOOKFORUM   Tiphanie Yanique's web site No Kindle, Yes Amazon

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Beauty and Sadness, by Andre Alexis (Trinidad and Tobago/Canada)
— House of Anansi - non-fiction

There is some kind of back and forth going on about this one.   Whatever is going on is above my head and sounds like everyone is locked in their opinion.  No Kindle, Yes Amazon

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Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, by Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/USA)
— Princeton - non-fiction

Reading Danticat's book, we become Haitian. Our nation and our people lie under that rubble. But Haiti also rises from the ashes of all that has been lost in these heartening and heartrendingly beautiful pages. NPR audio and transcript and excerpt Yes Kindle, Yes Amazon.

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The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief, by V.S. Naipaul (Trinidad and Tobago/UK)
— Picador - non-fiction

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001 V. S. Naipaul The Masque of Africa is his latest – quite likely last – full-length work of non-fiction. It is a quest through the continent for the spirit of African belief, the belief systems that preceded the arrival of Christianity and Islam – which is very much in keeping with the legacy of Joseph Conrad, Aminatta Forna review  Yes Kindle, Yes Amazon

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So that is the long list.  The short list is to be announced today, Monday, the day I have scheduled this diary for publication.  I look into my Kindle Krystal Ball and see

Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, by Edwidge Danticat

The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief, by V.S. Naipaul

Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord


as the short list.  I will publish the announced short list in the comments.

A funny thing about Karen Lord.  She has a great web site but she published the titles of the entire short list in her web site so she comes up in every search done for the other nine.  We will have to wait until April to find out if this worked.  

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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