The 2021 longlist for the region’s only prize for emerging writers, the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize (JAAWP) has been announced by the Bocas Lit Fest.
Of the ten writers longlisted for the third and last edition of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize, eight are from Trinidad and Tobago. This unique award is dedicated to advancing the work of an emerging Caribbean voice in the poetry genre; the 2019 and 2020 prizes were for fiction and non-fiction respectively.
A total of 35 submissions were received from 8 Caribbean countries – Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Guyana. As in previous years, the prize’s judging process was blind, so that the names and nationalities of the entrants were only revealed once they had made the cut.
The prize has been sponsored for three editions by philanthropist and medical practitioner Dr Achong Low, in memory of his parents and is administered by the Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago and the literary charitable trust Arvon in the UK. This is the last year of the JAAWP which consists of a cash award of $3,000US and attendance at an intense creative writing course at one of Arvon’s internationally renowned writing houses, plus a three-day stay in London to network with editors and publishers, hosted by Arvon and in association with the Free Word Centre. The winner is also mentored by an established writer in the genre and gets the chance to be agented by Aitken Alexander Associates literary agency in the UK.
In order to adhere to travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the mentorship and course may be administered virtually, as was done for the 2020 winner, Trinidadian Amanda Choo Quan.
The 2021 winner will be announced during the upcoming virtual NGC Bocas Lit Fest, T&T’s annual literary festival, which takes place from April 23-25, 2021.
2021 JAAWP Longlist (Poetry):
Akhim Alexis, Trinidad & Tobago
Kamille Andrews, Trinidad & Tobago
Wendy Brewster, Trinidad & Tobago
Linda M. Deane, Barbados
Jannine T. Horsford, Trinidad & Tobago
Jay T. John, Trinidad & Tobago
Kirese Narinesingh, Trinidad & Tobago
Derron Sandy, Trinidad & Tobago
Desiree Seebaran, Trinidad & Tobago
Scott Leon Ting-A-Kee, Guyana