Bocas Lit Fest

The leading Caribbean literary award for young adult literature, CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, will go to one of three shortlisted writers from Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

The writers are in the running for valuable cash prizes and a publishing deal with a Caribbean publisher that will see 7,500 copies of their novels distributed to schools, libraries and community organizations across the region. The first place winner will receive $10,000CAD, the runners up will receive $7,500CAD and $5,000CAD each.

The top three titles (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh, Guyana (manuscript to be published)
  • Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph, Trinidad and Tobago (manuscript to be published)
  • The Dolphin Catchers by Diana McCaulay, Jamaica (manuscript to be published)

The jury of writers, educators and literacy experts praised these manuscripts as “beautifully written, exciting, worldly, young adult and unmistakably Caribbean.”

Children of the Spider, Imam Baksh’s engaging first novel, captures readers with the otherness of its world, its intrigue and mystery. Award-winning writer Diana McCaulay’s first young adult novel, The Dolphin Catchers, conjures a vivid setting and an engaging young hero who pulls the reader into the story. And Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph, the author of several other successful children’s and young adult books, is gripping in its depth of emotion, strong plot and realistic handling of relationships and conflicts.

The winning writers will receive their prizes at a special ceremony on Friday 1 May at the 5th NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain. They will read from their winning manuscripts in the Best of CODE’s Burt Award showcase at the literary festival on Saturday 2 May.

This is the second year of CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. Over the last twelve months 7,500 copies of the first three winning titles – All Over Again by Ad-Ziko Simba Gegele, Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis – were successfully distributed and some of the winning authors also had the opportunity to meet with young readers and aspiring writers of Young Adult fiction in Montserrat, Antigua, and Barbados as part of an author tour.

The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature was established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for 55 years – in collaboration with the Literary Prizes Foundation. The Award is administered in Port of Spain by the Bocas Lit Fest, the literary organization that founded the largest annual literary festival of the Caribbean region, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

CODE’s Burt Award is a global readership initiative and is also currently established in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Canada.

For further details on the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature click here. 

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