2014 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature Awarded to MFA Faculty Author
Robert Antoni, a faculty member in Cedar Crest College’s Pan-European MFA in Creative writing, is the recipient of the 2014 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for his novel As Flies to Whatless Boys. This prestigious honor is awarded to literary books by Caribbean authors in the categories of poetry, fiction and literary non-fiction.
Antoni’s work received first prize in fiction and first in the overall best book category, an honor that includes prominent past recipients such as Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, a poet and playwright.
“It’s a wonderful affirmation to be recognized on your home ground, and the Bocas Prize holds a special significance for the Caribbean writer,” said Antoni. “But the Bocas literary festival and prize, and others in the region, also help our literature to gain recognition on the world stage. I have just returned from the Calabash literary festival in Jamaica, where the participating authors included Salmon Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Paul Muldoon, and Colum McCann in addition to the great West Indian writer Jamaica Kincaid. It was a thrill to take part in such a homegrown event.”
Robert Antoni was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1958, and he carries two passports: from the US, and Trinidad and Tobago. Antoni’s fictional world is the island of Corpus Christi. To create it he draws upon his two hundred years of family history in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as his upbringing in the Bahamas. His first novel, Divina Trace, was published in 1991, and his most recent novel, Carnival, was published in 2005. The latter work has appeared in French, Spanish, Finnish, and Chinese translations.
Antoni was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2010 for his historical novel, As Flies to Whatless Boys. Antoni has taught a wide range of courses in creative writing and literature at such esteemed institutions as The New School University of New York, Columbia University, The University of Miami, The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Johns Hopkins University. He currently lives in Manhattan, and he frequently visits Barcelona, where he has kept an alternate address for the past 20 years. His author website can be found at www.robertantoni.com.