Trinidad-born Tamika Gibson has won the 2016 Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE) Burt Award for Caribbean literature.
Three finalists vied for the coveted prize which was announced on Friday night during a ceremony at the National Library, Port of Spain.
Third place went to Danielle McClean, also Trinidad-born, for her self published novel The Protector’s Pledge.
Bermuda author Florenz Webbe Maxwell placed second with her manuscript Girlcott.
But it was Gibson’s debut manuscript De First Family that earned the nod from the panel of judges made up of writers, educators and other literary experts.
The CODE Burt Award, now in its third year, recognises outstanding literary works for young adults written by Caribbean authors and is part of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, which ran from April 23 and ends today.
Gibson won a cash prize of Can$10,000, while Maxwell and McClean won Can$7,000 and Can$5,000, respectively.
As part of the award, CODE will assist in linking the authors, whose novels are still in the manuscript stage, to Caribbean publishers to have their work published.
CODE will also purchase and distribute up to 6,000 copies of the winning titles, which will be donated to schools, libraries and community organisations across the region.
Bocas Lit Fest founder and executive director Marina Salandy-Brown congratulated the finalists as she noted the level of writing talent there is in the Caribbean.
The audience, including Sharon Rowley, wife of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, was treated to sample readings by each author.