Bocas teaches the business of books

Jamaican publisher Ian Randle
Jamaican publisher Ian Randle

EACH YEAR, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest convenes a range of experts in the book business. And every year since 2016, new and aspiring writers have had access to their vast knowledge and experience through a dedicated series of free seminars called Writers First.

In collaboration with Nalis as part of the National Library’s First-Time Authors Appreciation, the 2019 edition of Writers First will present, for the first time, an all-day programme of presentations and readings in the library’s AV Room, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, from 10 am-6 pm on May 1.

Jacob Ross, associate fiction editor at Peepal Tree Press.

Seminars will be led by local and visiting industry professionals addressing issues and topics relevant to the world of writing and publishing, and resonant with a growing market of prospective writers and self-published authors.

Morning sessions include prizewinning author and associate fiction editor at Peepal Tree Press, Jacob Ross, on What Every Fiction Publisher is looking for, and author and head of the University of the West Indies (UWI) creative writing MFA programme, Muli Amaye, exploring the questions Are Writers Born or Made? And how can workshopping nurture your talent?

UK editor and publisher Margaret Busby

The afternoon line-up features eminent Jamaican publisher Ian Randle on The Five Most Important things you Don’t Know about Publishing, celebrated UK editor and publisher Margaret Busby sharing The Art of the Blurb and, closing off the day are Janet Steel and Emma D’Costa of Commonwealth Writers with Writing to the World, plus award-winning writer Kevin Jared Hosein on building a successful literary career at home in TT.

The opportunity for first-time and self-published authors to read from their books at two intervals, 12-1 pm and 4.30-6 pm, will complement this packed day of knowledge sharing.

Speaking about the goals of Writers First festival founder and director Marina Salandy-Brown said,

“This platform is important to the development of the entire literary eco-system. There’s a clear appetite for writing and non-traditional publishing, and we marry that desire to the expertise. New books are constantly appearing. We are responding to the request to showcase them. So what better way to start the annual literary festival than by encouraging and engaging new voices?”

The ninth annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest takes place May 1-5 at the National Library in Port of Spain. For more info:


"Bocas teaches the business of books"

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