6 Finalists in Running for Burt Award for Caribbean Literature

Dianne Brown

Dianne Brown

Joanne C Hillhouse

Joanne C Hillhouse

Joanne Skerrit

Joanne Skerrit

A-dZiko Gegele

A-dZiko Gegele

The finalists for the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature have been announced.

The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature was established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for 55 years – in collaboration with William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation. It is the result of a close collaboration with CODE’s local partners in the Caribbean, the Bocas Lit Fest and CaribLit.

The shortlisted titles are:

  • Island Princess in Brooklyn by Diane Browne, Jamaica (published by Carlong)
  • All Over Again by A-dZiko Gegele, Jamaica (published by Blouse & Skirt Books)
  • Barrel Girl by Glynis Guevara , Trinidad and Tobago (manuscript to be published)
  • Musical Youth by Joanne Hillhouse, Antigua and Barbuda (manuscript to be published)
  • Abraham’s Treasure by Joanne Skerrett, Dominica (published by Papillotte Press)
  • Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith Dennis, Jamaica (published by LMH Publishing) 

The finalists were selected by a jury administered by The Bocas Lit Fest and made up of writers, literacy experts and academics from the Caribbean and Canada.

“In the Caribbean, as in much of the world, demand for relevant, entertaining books that speak to young people in their own language is constantly growing,” said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter. “With the Award, we’re hoping to help address this demand by supporting the development of new titles that reflect the lives of their readers, while providing opportunities for promising writers to emerge and regional publishers to prosper. Our ultimate goal is for young people across the Caribbean to have access to good books they will enjoy so they can develop the love of reading and become lifelong learners.”

The three winners of the first edition of this annual Award will be announced on April 25th, 2014 at a Gala to be held as part of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. A First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CAD and a Third Prize of $5,000 CAD will be awarded to the authors of the winning titles. In addition, publishers of the winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of up to 2,500 copies, ensuring that the books get into the hands of young people through schools, libraries and community organizations across the Caribbean. Winning publishers also commit to actively market an additional minimum of 1,200 copies of each winning title throughout the region.

Marina Salandy-Brown, founder of The Bocas Lit Fest says, “We are delighted to be working with CODE and William Burt in administering this exceptional prize that not only supports writers of an underserved genre in the Caribbean – young adult literature – but publishers too, and which addresses headlong the critical issue of marketing and distribution in our region.”

CODE’s Burt Award is a global readership initiative and is also currently established in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Canada.

For further details on the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, go to www.codecan.org/burt-award-caribbean   

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