The complexity of family relationships is the theme of the new Bios & Bookmarks online reading series starting on September 5.
The Bocas Lit Fest series will feature six new award-winning authors whose books give context to many of the issues affecting the contemporary family, including inter-generational conflict, parent-child divisions, identity, belonging, migration and xenophobia. The episodes are live-streamed on Facebook, giving viewers the chance to interact with the celebrated authors.
Maisy Card, Jamaican-born and US-resident winner of the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Fiction, stars in the line-up, reading from These Ghosts Are Family, which was inspired by Card’s own family stories, and considers the generational traumas of Caribbean slavery in a fresh and revealing manner.
And kicking off the season is Rajiv Mohabir, an Indo-Caribbean American poet whose memoir Antiman won the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. He will also discuss his third and latest poetry collection, Cutlish, as in “cutlass” or “machete,” in which he looks at the concept of “home” for someone fighting against stereotypes.
Other writers featured in the new season are Arisa White, a native New Yorker of Caribbean heritage whose poetry debut Who’s Your Daddy is a memoir that weaves stories of an absentee father between Guyanese proverbs, and Lawrence Scott, who closes the series on October 10. Scott, a prize-winning Trinidadian novelist and short story writer, will read from Dangerous Freedom, his new historical fiction, set against a colonial backdrop that breathes new life into questions of belonging, race and identity in the post-colonial Western world.
Bios and Bookmarks, now moving into its fifth season, was launched in 2020 by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest to virtually bring audiences closer to the writers who would have been at the annual literary festival if not for pandemic restrictions. Past guests have included Bernardine Evaristo, winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize, Roger Robinson, 2019 TS Eliot Prize winner, and Alex Wheatle, winner of the Carnegie Medal and the 50th Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.