Two emerging Jamaican writers, two from the Bahamas, one from Puerto Rico, one from the British Virgin Islands, and four from Trinidad and Tobago make up the longlist of ten for the much-coveted Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, now in its third year. They were selected by the judges from an overall 53 entries, the largest number since the Prize started in 2013.
The longlisted writers are:
Elliot Bastien, Trinidad and Tobago
Nicolette Bethel, The Bahamas
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, Trinidad and Tobago
Richard Georges, British Virgin Islands
Zahra Gordon, Trinidad and Tobago
Monica Minott, Jamaica
Xavier Navarro, Puerto Rico
Shivanee Ramlochan, Trinidad and Tobago
Lynn Sweeting, The Bahamas
Peta-Gaye V. Williams, Jamaica
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 poetry collection 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 or US$4,500, and 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.
According to the judges, “The longlist for the 2015 Hollick Arvon Prize can boast of poets who shuttle an ability to manipulate language to create poetry that is narratively fluent and thematically current and engaging.”
It was a blind competition between 16 men and 37 women. “The judges did not know who they were judging, female or male, but we commend the sensitive and subtle handling of subject matters which range from submerged family histories through domestic abuse to sexual self-discovery and the loss of memory”, says Funso Aiyejina, chair of the international judging panel of five. The other judges are Caroline Hollick, representative of the sponsors of the award; poet and scholar Edward Baugh; Ruth Borthwick of Arvon; and London literary agent Jennifer Hewson.
The winner will be announced on Saturday 2 May at the 2015 NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain.