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Investing in new Caribbean writers

The Bocas Lit Fest will soon be offering better incentives for emerging writers in the Caribbean.

Bocas Lit Fest founder and director Marina Salandy-Brown said, “Literary prizes are proven investments with guaranteed returns. A geographically small yet complex place like the Caribbean requires continuous investment to help draw out emerging literary talent.”

As a result, the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize (2013-2015) introduced Thicker than Water, the 2018 anthology of Caribbean writing, which is published by Peekash Press. It showcases new work by 19 prize finalists from all over the region, including winners Barbara Jenkins – fiction, 2013, Diana McCaulay – non-fiction, 2014, and Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné – poetry, 2015.

Following this landmark prize, another incentive for emerging Caribbean voices, entitled the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize, is now open for submissions.

Managed by the Bocas Lit Fest and Arvon, this prize replaces the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize. It is an annual award, which allows an emerging Caribbean writer living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean to devote time to advancing or finishing a literary work, with support from an established writer as mentor. The prize is offered across three literary genres – fiction in 2019, non-fiction in 2020 and poetry in 2021.

The prize is named after Johnson and Amoy Achong and commemorates their lives as hard working citizens of Trinidad and Tobago whose children have continued to contribute to the building of the country.

Salandy-Brown said, “We must not underestimate the value of these prizes in honing talent and bringing it to the world’s attention. We can safely say the returns on literary arts investments are evident as they are enduring. And we’re excited to see what this new prize yields for Caribbean writing over the next few years.”

The first winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize will be announced in 2019 at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest. Submissions close on September 30. For more information and prize guidelines, see ww.bocaslitfest.com

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