Call for Stories: Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival 2021

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] The third annual Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival takes place on September 10-12, 2021. The 2021 BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest for the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writers’ Prize and BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean is open for submissions. The BCLF calls “for stories that resonate with this year’s festival theme, A Tapestry of Words and Worlds, a theme that explores and reveres the connections, ties and bonds between the Caribbean ancestral lands and the diaspora communities they have birthed.” The deadline for submissions is July 9, 2021, by 11:59pm (EST).

Description: It is impossible to understand the Caribbean imagination without first understanding the environment of its creative. The magnitude of colonial conquest rendered the territory’s landscape as either paradise or terra nullius. The swift march of colonial acquisition dispossessed indigenous peoples from their lands, degraded ancient economic systems and dealt a forceful blow to native spiritual practices. Tribal boundaries were erased and new lines drawn. The new world underwent a transformation wherein the sacred was commodified; an action which later shaped the route that the region’s future would take.

In this violent tragedy of ownership, conquest and lust, indigenous voices were silenced and ancient wisdoms lost. Until now. We are witnessing a swift restoration and reclamation of the hidden, precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrivaled crisis of the modern-day world. The talismanic properties of healing stories have become the succour through this wildly unpredictable and turbulent time. Buried ideologies rooted in the once marginalised indigenous nations and peoples are being unearthed and appraised. Dignities are being restored. Most of all, the world is taking notice of the power of the humanities to save. 

What does this mean? Can we imagine a new future in which we have a greater control of our outcomes? What brave new worlds live on the frontier of the Caribbean writer’s imagination? What stories would we tell if we could speak with the tongues of ancient; what kind of world would we inhabit?

The BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean American Writers’ Prize and BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean invite submissions that speak to issues of land, justice, ancestral knowledge, belonging, ownership and oral histories; stories of pain, joy, grief, hope, return to memory; stories that critique and challenge the creative imagination to re-envision the world in the diaspora and the Caribbean.

The entry deadline for submission of stories is July 9th, 2021 at 11:59 pm. Late submissions will not be considered.

About the BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest

The BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest is an annual writing competition geared towards unearthing and encouraging the distinctive voice and story of the Caribbean-descended writer and expanding the creative writing landscape of Caribbean literature.

The original award, called the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writers’ Prize is a prize exclusively for emergent writers in the Caribbean diaspora in North America. In its inaugural year of 2019, the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writers’ Prize was awarded to the Puerto-Rican (Nuyorican) writer, Amina Susi-Ali. In response to the overwhelming number of regional submissions for that prize, the festival added a second award in the short story contest entitled the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean, which is open exclusively to Caribbean writers of all levels who reside and work in the Caribbean. In this way, the BCLF does not pit the variegated perspective of the ever-expanding definition of the Caribbean writer against itself and commits itself to provide writers within and without the region with equitable platforms designed to expose their writing and nourish the genre’s writing pipeline.

Our small judging panel is dedicated to supporting the festival’s goal “to provide a stimulating experience wherein upcoming writers of Caribbean descent are encouraged and empowered to tell their stories”.

For more information, see and 

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