Four emerging writers from Trinidad and Tobago are among eight finalists for the much-coveted 2014 Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, now in its second year.
The formal announcement of these finalists will be made today at the media launch of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest at Nalis, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain.
The Prize, administered by The Bocas Lit Fest and worth a total of US$15,000, will give the winning Caribbean-based writer time to advance a non-fiction work in progress. It includes a year’s mentoring by an established author and travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive creative writing course of their choice at Arvon.
The winning writer will also receive a cash award of 3,000 pounds sterling or US$4,500, have three days in London to network with literary professionals, hosted by the UK’s leading creative writing organisation, Arvon, in association with Free Word Centre and agents Rogers, Coleridge & White who have first option of “agenting” the winning writer.
A total of 27 writers from the following countries submitted for the Prize — Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St Lucia, Bermuda, St Vincent, Bahamas, Guyana and Grenada.
A statement from the panel of five international judges, headed by Professor Funso Aiyejina; Lord Hollick, sponsor of the award; Godfrey Smith, 2012 non-fiction winner of the OCM Bocas Prize, Ruth Borthwick of Arvon, and London literary agent, Jennifer Hewson, praised the quality of the entries.
“Many of the works were eloquent, insightful, passionate and exciting. Some entries were very ambitious in scope but managed to remain focused on their subject matters. The judges are convinced that the works in contention for the prize venture beyond the safe shores of established themes and promise to create new boundaries for the Caribbean non-fiction genre”, the statement said.
Prof Funso Aiyejina added, “It was a blind competition. We had no idea who we were judging and we were impressed. The work ranged from the academic to the personal and were generally imbued with original insights. Many of the works were directed at adult audiences but some were aimed at children and young adults”.
The winner will be announced at the 2014 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, which runs from April 23 to 27 in Port of Spain at the National Library.
The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago is the title sponsor of the Lit Fest. One Caribbean Media (OCM), parent company of the Express and TV6, is sponsor of the OCM Bocas Prize. The Ministry of Planning & Sustainable Development is a main sponsor of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest. First Citizens, Flow and Courts are supporting sponsors.
See www.bocaslitfest.com for more information.
2014 Non-fiction Finalists
Turn Around, Judy Antoine, Grenada
Let It Fly, Melissa Balgobin, Trinidad and Tobago
Split Level, Rhoda Bharath, Trinidad and Tobago
17 Rest House Road, Ira Mathur, Trinidad and Tobago
Loving Jamaica, Diana McCaulay, Jamaica
The Plight of the Humanitarian Aid Worker, Nadine McNeil, Jamaica
Canouan Suite, Philip Nanton, St Vincent
Richard Bridgens, Judy Raymond, Trinidad and Tobago