Trinidad’s fourth annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest is over, but no need to cry! Luckily, thanks to the great Festival Radio team, it lives on online. All sessions were recorded and are available as podcasts for streaming and downloading through our SoundCloud page. There you can find a fantastic range of discussions and readings by some of the Caribbean’s most celebrated and promising writers.
Today I want to celebrate the 2014 winners of the OCM Bocas Prize:
Robert Antoni: Fiction and Overall Winner for his novel As Flies to Whatless Boys
Kei Miller: Non-Fiction winner for his book Writing Down the Vision: Essays and Prophesies
Lorna Goodison: Poetry winner for her collection Oracabessa
Click here to hear them read from their work.
Jamaican writer Kei Miller talks about writing “Fiction”:
If you ask me why I write stories, or novels, or poems, I would tell you it is because things that are real in my country, things that are factual, things that have happened and that continue to happen, have always had for me the quality of the unreal –the texture of fiction. This is what happens when you live in a country that is not the centre of the world; you become blessed with a kind of double vision. You see your life from the inside, and also from the outside — both locally and globally. You are conscious always of the reality of what you are living, and also the strange narrative of it. You become conscious of how this might be observed — sometimes unlovingly and without empathy –if you do not find a way to tell it right. In a way, this is how every writer the world over lives –this quality of being inside and outside at the same time — of living a life while floating above it, observing, taking notes. Often times I find there is not need to invent or to create. There is only the need to see, and then to tell.
Extract from The Texture of Fiction, by Kei Miller. Published in Writing Down the Vision: Essays and Prophesies. 2013.
The “Listen” series focus on Iranian professional female singers who have been unable to perform solo or to produce their own music since the revolution in 1979. Tavakolian brought these singers to a private studio, and filmed/photographed them performing in front of a chintzy ‘70’s-era backdrop to an imaginary audience. The power of the series lies in the absence, the silence of their passionate performances.
In addition to her portraits of girls and singers, Tavakolian also created fictional CD covers (which metaphorically remain empty) that portray her own interpretation of Iranian society.Tavakolian writes, “For me a woman’s voice represents a power that if you silence it, imbalances society and makes everything deformed. The project ‘Listen’ echoes the voice of these silenced women. I let Iranian women singers perform through my camera while the world has never heard them.” For anyone interested in hearing more from Tavakolian, here is a brief video interview.
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on
In honour of the late Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a quote from Love in the Time of Cholera:
“With her Florentino Ariza learned what he had already experienced many times without realizing it: that one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them. Alone in the midst of the crowd on the pier, he said to himself in a flash of anger: ‘My heart has more rooms than a whorehouse.”
The early morning mist dissolves. And the sun shines on the Pacific. You stand like Balboa the Conquistador. On the cliff top. Among the last of the Monterey Cypress trees. The old whaler’s hut is abandoned now. But whales still swim through the wild waves. Sea otters float on the calmer waters. Cracking abalone shells on their chest. Humming birds take nectar from the red hibiscus. Pelicans splash lazily in the surf. Wander down a winding path. Onto gentle sands. Ocean crystal clear. Sea anemones. Turquoise waters. Total immersion. Ecstasy.