Olive Senior wins OCM Bocas literary prize
Jamaican poet and author Olive Senior created history over the weekend when she became the first Jamaican and only the second female author to win the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature since its inception in 2011.
The announcement was made at a brief ceremony at the Bocas Literary Festival held at the Globe Cinema, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on Saturday. Senior walked away with US$10,000 courtesy of One Caribbean Media as her book, The Pain Tree, copped the main prize.
Since news broke of Senior's latest accomplishment, the Institute of Jamaica has come out in praise of the author's work.
"The Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) congratulates its former managing director of publications and 2004 Gold Musgrave Medal awardee, Olive Senior, who created history as the first Jamaican and second female author to win the prestigious OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature," the institute said in a release, which also congratulated Jamaica-born photographer-painter-writer Professor Jacqueline Bishop. Bishop won the non-fiction category at the same event for her book, The Gymnast and Other Positions.
Executive director of the IOJ Anne-Marie Bonner spoke highly of both Senior and Bishop, describing them as women of great literary prowess.
"We salute Olive Senior and Jacqueline Bishop for showing the Caribbean and the world that Jamaican literature is potent not only to academics, but to people who want to know more about life as it is lived in the Caribbean," she said.
The prize judges commended Senior's work in The Pain Tree, for what they described as a
"command of ... every register of Jamaican patois" and unanimously agreed that Bishop's book was as original as it was insightful.
The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is a major award for literary books by Caribbean writers. Books may be entered in three categories: poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction.
The prize includes an award of US$3,000 for each category winner and US$10,000 for the overall winner.