BVI News

Local author wins top Caribbean literary award

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

Local author and educator Dr Richard Georges recently won the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for his poetry book entitled Epiphaneia.

The OCM Bocas Prize is the top literary award in the region which judge’s eligible authors in three categories — poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction for work published in the previous calendar year.

Dr Georges won his poetry category before claiming the overall award and a grand prize of $10,000. He emerged victorious against the likes of well-known Jamaican author Curdella Forbes, Caribbean writer Sarah Collins, Trinidadian-American poet Lauren K Alleyne, and Trinidadian-Scottish writer Vahni Capildeo.

Speaking to BVI News following his milestone achievement, Dr Georges said he was very pleased to receive such a pivotal award.

“Having people read you at all is already an honour because people are carving out some time to spend time investing in what it is that you have created. To be recognised in such a manner, individually for me, it’s a validation for me to continue to press and devote the time and the sacrifices required to write,” Dr Georges stated.

BVI inspired the award-winning Epiphaneia

He said his book was inspired by the British Virgin Islands’ road to recovery following the devastation caused by the 2017 hurricanes.

The author said it is a very hopeful but refined introspection of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and its effects on the territory, both in terms of trauma and resilience.

“Epiphaneia is my third book and its almost like a trilogy if you will and Epiphaneia’s focus is like the aftermath of a natural destruction, but both as individuals and as a community we were able to find a whelm of resilience to recover and to rebound and to make life go again,” he explained.

Hope’s achievement inspires upcoming local authors

Dr Georges, who is also the Acting President of the H Lavity Stoutt Community College, said he hopes his achievement motivates some of the promising talents here in the BVI.

He said believes it’s about facilitating these young talents and finding ways in which they can be supported.

“It is a major way for BVIslanders to see themselves in literature, and the more local artists are published internationally the more writing of arts become a viable or possible future for younger Virgin Islanders,” he said.

Importance of having an established publisher

Dr Georges’ book is published by Out-Spoken Press which is an independent UK publishing company. He said there are many benefits to publishing with an established organisation.

“A lot of our writers have self-published over the years and when you self-publish, you don’t have the mechanism of a publisher to market and support and carve more opportunities for you internationally,” he stated.

“The whole thing is about starting to build a tradition here with our local writers where we can start to arrive at those kinds of levels where we are being published by major international presses and therefore getting a bigger readership and becoming more and more in control of our own storytelling,” the author further explained.

Plans ahead

Dr Georges, in the meantime, said he will be taking a break from releasing a book in 2020, as his previous two books ‘Make Us All Islands’ and ‘Giant’ were released in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

He, however, said he will be working on some fiction short stories, as he aspires to complete a novel following the break.

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  1. Laura says:

    Congratulations Richard! Job well done. We need to encourage our local authors, embrace them and distribute their works throughout the educational system…our history matters and should be learnt.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Giant and I’m sure that Epiphaneia will be a great hit too.

    Continue to enlighten us with your talent young man.

    Like 14
  2. Jus wond'ring says:

    I thought he was from Trinidad and went High school here

    Like 7
    Dislike 9
    • Dear says:

      No. He is from right here my Dear. Dont get mixed up with here and there.

      Like 3
      Dislike 1
    • William Georges. (Sage) says:

      Yes, but his roots are in BVI. His father, grandfather and greatgrandfather were all born in BVI. He has also lived most of his life in BVI. So he is more BVI than most BVIslanders.

      • @ William Georges says:

        That is entirely correct. I went to school with him right here many years ago and know most of his family. We’ve never lost touch. Thank you to the parents for the upbringing of this young man. very academically inclined and the world ain’t seen nothing yet. all the best Richard.

  3. Hmm says:

    I like this.
    How can I get a copy here locally?

  4. Only Angels says:

    Some good news for a change! Congrats Sir! The pen is still mightier than the sword. Continue to bring joy and enlightenment to others via the written word and continue to make the BVI and your family proud.

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