Robert Edison Sandiford is one of the non-fiction judges for the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize.
The NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago administers the annual award, which recognizes the best books of poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction published in English in the previous calendar year by a writer of Caribbean birth or citizenship living anywhere in the world. Entries are made by publishers, though judges may request other published titles for consideration.
The annual literary award, now open for entries, carries a cash prize of US$10,000 for the overall winner, with two prizes of US$3,000 for the category winners. These are sponsored by One Caribbean Media.
Every year, the prize has ten judges in all, distinguished writers, scholars and publishing professionals. There are three judges for each category, including a chair who will form part of the final judging panel of four persons, the fourth being the overall judge. For 2018, the head judge will be the Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Lorna Goodison.
The other two Bocas Prize non-fiction judges are Judy Raymond and Jeremy Taylor.
The reading period runs from November to February. The judges come up with a shortlist of three books and then the winner in each category.
The winning title in each category will be judged for the award of best title of the year, to be announced in April at the festival.
“Throughout the short novel, Will navigates a web of professional frustrations and domestic quandaries as a father of two young boys (for example: Should sleepovers be allowed on a weekday? Should you allow your ten-year-old to beat you at soccer?). Abray carefully bifurcates Will’s life into two distinct worlds, work and home. The charm of the domestic scenes, often dominated by frank, age-appropriate discussions with his young sons, exposes the corporate theatrics and prickly politics of Will’s exchanges at work with colleagues and clients.
Some of the best and most comedic moments in the novel are when the two worlds briefly overlap. For example, when Will takes his sons to work and they meet his disagreeable boss, or when he tells a disinterested client about the gifts he bought his sons. Will has a propensity to overshare with clients – and it is details like this that make him an utterly believable, and likeable, protagonist….
The book consistently teeters on the edge of a grand dénouement – a betrayal, a blow-up, an accident. Here lies the book’s charm and uniqueness. Life happens: the seasons fold into each other, the boys go to weekly sports practice, and Will and Karen occasionally bicker. But nothing is extreme in this book – not even the toilet leak. It’s a highly readable and funny rendition of real life.
– Cecilia Keating, The Montreal Review of Books, Fall, 2017