We enjoyed her writing and appreciated her commentary on topical issues which demonstrates a critical approach that is much needed in the mainstream. We believe Harmony’s work will have widespread reach and great impact. We strongly feel she has the potential to become a voice for her generation.”Franka Philip, Head Judge, NGC Bocas Youth Writer Award 2021
Twenty-four year old blogger Harmony Farrell is the winner of the inaugural inter-genre NGC Bocas Youth Writer Award for young writers up to age 25 and based in Trinidad and Tobago, with a cash prize of $5,000TT.
Created by the Bocas Lit Fest and sponsored by the National Gas Company, the pioneering Award seeks to find and celebrate writers across a broad spectrum of literary genres, including poetry, playwriting, fiction, creative non-fiction, journalism, scriptwriting, spoken word, blog writing, and song lyrics.
The Youth Writer Award was launched as part of the first NGC Bocas Youth Festival in August 2021, which is intended to create a space just for youth in the Caribbean literary community, both as readers and writers, and to bridge the divide between the curriculum and real-world applications of the literary arts.
Twenty-two entries were submitted for judging by a panel led by journalist and media consultant Franka Phillip and including storyteller Paul Keens-Douglas, singer/songwriter Marge Blackman, writer Ricqcolia Phillip, and poet and academic Amilcar Sanatan. From a shortlist of six spoken word artists, bloggers and journalists Harmony Farrell emerged at the top. The judges were impressed by the level of thought and depth of quality that characterised the shortlisted entries.
The 2019 and 2020 First Citizens National Poetry Slam winner Alexandra Stewart received an honourable mention for her “creativity and insightful work”. The judges were assessing the impact of the writers’ work, using indicators such as creative influence, critical acclaim, online views, shares, and reach, and also the quality of the literary work with regard to originality of thought and style, a command of language and form, general creativity, and the ability to influence readers.
For the Bocas Lit Fest, Jean Claude Cournand, who devised and managed the youth festival, expressed gratitude to the judges, “for taking on the difficult task of judging a multi-genre prize and thereby acknowledging the importance of the Young Writers competition which highlights the breadth of writing and expression that so many young people are engaged in across a range of platforms.”