News Releases

UWI St Augustine celebrates Bocas Lit 2022 Awardees

For Release Upon Receipt - April 11, 2022

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago.  Monday 11 April, 2022 – The St. Augustine Campus Community congratulates Professor Emeritus Funso Aiyejina and Dr. Merle Hodge on being awarded the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters. The award was founded in 2013 to honour the late BBC World Service radio producer Henry Swanzy who was a catalyzing figure in the development of modern West Indian literature.   

According to the Bocas Lit Fest Committee, “Funso Aiyejina and Merle Hodge have played an unmistakable role in shaping the region’s literary landscape” with bodies of work that span borders and decades. They have been creative writing teachers and mentors, particularly through the influential Cropper Foundation Writers’ Workshop which they led from its foundation in 2000. Bocas lit commends their “crucial parallel work as teachers and mentors of younger authors, and their dedication to nurturing a generation of writers grounded in Caribbean literary tradition and language, exploring the region’s social complexities.”  

In addition, Professor Emeritus Aijyejina was instrumental in the establishment of the creative writing MFA (Master of Fine Arts) programme at the St. Augustine Campus – the first degree-granting programme in creative writing in the Anglophone Caribbean. Dr. Merle Hodge is author of the 1970 classic Crick Crack, Monkey. She is a retired lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities and Education, St. Augustine Campus.  

Head of Department, Literary, Cultural & Communication Studies, Dr. Suzanne Burke said, the department joins the national community in recognising the work of both Professor Funso Aiyegina and Dr. Merle Hodge in creating art that represents the diversity and dynamism of the Caribbean experience. “Their work has provided us with new and fresh ways to see, and to be ourselves.  As public intellectuals and activists their years of service, especially with young men and women have consistently sought to activate the innate potential of the region’s creative core as a source of real developmental energy.  We congratulate them both on their accomplishments,” she added.  

Other UWI St. Augustine lecturers have previously received this award – Professors Kenneth Ramchand and Gordon Rohlehr, both in 2014. 

The Bocas Henry Swanzy Award will be formally presented to Funso Aiyejina and Merle Hodge during a virtual ceremony on Saturday 30 April as part of the 2022 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.  

About The UWI 

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region. 

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world. 

Ranked among the top universities in the world, by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. In 2020, it earned ‘Triple 1st’ rankings—topping the Caribbean; and in the top in the tables for Latin America and the Caribbean, and global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the top universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action. 

For more, visit

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