Good News for Six Caribbean Writers, Bad News for the Burt Award (Update)

The Burt Award finalists have been named. Congratulations to them all. They are Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, a repeat finalist having also made the cut in 2015; Trinidad and Tobago’s Tamika Gibson, who previously won the prize in 2016; and Jeanelle Frontin, also from the land of the hummingbird – which has been especially dominant in this year’s Bocas administered prizes. See details here:

Wadadli Pen

Six shortlisted writers have been named though dampened by the concurrent announcement that the CODE sponsored Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean literature is coming to an end. The award was first bestowed in 2014 but with the death of its founder Canadian philanthropist Bill Burt in 2017 has come a shift in priorities – reportedly to environmental matters, which is a pressing concern in these perilous times. The Caribbean leg of the award has been administered these five years by the Bocas Literary Festival in Trinidad and Tobago  in partnership with the Canadian non-profit CODE which runs similar programmes in Africa and among the indigenous community in Canada – all of which will need alternative funding if they are to continue. The purpose and effect of the award has been to generate and distribute new writing from typically marginalized communities with the youth population as a specific target.

This year’s short…

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April 15, 2019 · 5:06 pm

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