News Releases

UWI Lecturer wins Overall 2019 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

For Release Upon Receipt - May 5, 2019

St. Augustine

Dr. Kevin Browne, Lecturer in Literatures in English at The University of the West Indies

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. May 5, 2019 – “Impressive in scope, lyrical in style, and innovative in form, High Mas impresses both as a work of literature and art,” – These were some of the rave reviews written by judges to describe the book High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture’ by Dr. Kevin Adonis Browne, Lecturer in Literatures in English at The University of the West Indies (The UWI), St. Augustine Campus. Dr. Browne emerged as the overall winner of the 2019 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, sponsored by One Caribbean Media (OCM). 

‘High Mas’ which also topped the non-fiction category, was one of three shortlisted books, for the overall OCM Bocas Prize. First presented in 2011, this is a major award for literary books by Caribbean writers. Books are judged in three categories: poetry; fiction — both novels and collections of short stories; and literary non-fiction — including books of essays, biography and autobiography, history, current affairs, travel, and other genres, which demonstrate literary qualities and use literary techniques, regardless of subject matter.

Dr. Browne who is a photographer, writer, and scholar of contemporary rhetorical theory, specializing in the visual and vernacular expressive arts described his winning work of literature as “a book of contemporary Caribbean thought and practice. In it, I combine the arts of photography and the lyric essay to devise a way of seeing the Caribbean, the world, and the self.” Aside from being an incredible honour, he said, “This prize honours work that demonstrates to our students the evolving role of the Humanities and the kind of work they can do in Literature. And it emphasises that such work can be accomplished while engaged with the traditions--literary, visual, performative, and ritualistic--that make us not only Trinbagonian or Caribbean, but also intensely global. For that, I couldn't be more pleased and more hopeful.”

According to the judges, “Browne’s exceptional exploration of mas blends photographic essay, essay, memoir, poetry, polemic, and prose poetry to transformative effect. Going beyond the history and narrative, Browne peers into the soul of a people with whom he feels a deep kinship. The result is a radical, genre-defying tribute to a cherished tradition in the finest tradition of literary non-fiction.”

Dr Elizabeth Jackson, Lecturer, Literatures in English and Acting Head of the Department of Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Education at The UWI congratulated her colleague on his great achievement, "We at The UWI are delighted that one of our very own lecturers, Dr Kevin Browne, has produced such a highly acclaimed book which promises to become a seminal work on Caribbean culture."

Dr. Browne made history as the first-ever overall winner to earn the prize for non-fiction. He was presented with the US$10,000 prize on May 4th at the NGC Bocas Literary Festival in Port of Spain.



For more information about the 2019 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature please visit:

For more information on Dr. Kevin Browne please visit: or


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website: 


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)