Sharma Taylor was awarded the inaugural Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize (JAAWP) at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest 2019. Her submission was in the literary genre of Fiction. Upon receiving the award, Sharma expressed gratitude to the prize donor, Dr. Kongsheik Achong Low. Taylor noted how valuable such a partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest is, how welcome such an investment is to the creative arts of the Caribbean, and how powerful of a legacy the prize is set to create.
The prize, open to emerging Caribbean writers, was awarded in May 2019 and consisted of a cash award of US$3,000, a year’s mentoring by an established writer, travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive Arvon creative writing course and three days of literary arts networking in London. Entries for the 2020 prize closed on September 30, 2019 and will be awarded for Non-Fiction. The winner will be announced at the flagship NGC Bocas Lit Festival in 2020.
Sharma arrived in the UK on 7 October, 2019 and took part in a week-long, residential creative writing course hosted by the Arvon Foundation. Additionally, she was afforded the opportunity to network with London-based literary arts stakeholders and have an in-person meeting with her JAAP mentor, Kei Miller.
The Arvon opportunity was priceless! I could never measure the value of my exposure to critically acclaimed, prize-winning authors Rob Doyle, Chibunu Onuzo and Mick Kitson. I also met such a supportive community of upcoming writers at Totleigh Barton in the lovely hills of Devon (and the best scones and clotted cream).
I had an in-person meet up with my writing mentor Kei Miller, over a pumpkin chai latte and have spent the last few days meeting some of the movers and shakers of the London publishing world.
Literary dreams do come true!