Ad inviting Guyana Prize submissions will be out ‘in a matter of days’

-Al Creighton

The call for the submission of entries for the 2010 Guyana Prize for Literature will go out this week, according to chairman of the Prize Committee, Al Creighton.

Speaking to Stabroek News yesterday, he said the advertisement for submissions will be out “in a matter of days.”  He added that a date is still to be set for the awards ceremony but stated that it will be held early next year after a “reasonable time” has been alloted for the judging process.

Government spokesman Dr Roger Luncheon last week announced that the cabinet had approved a submission by the organising committee concerning the prizes to be offered for the 2010 award which included the creation of a new award under the Prize.

“Cabinet approved the expenditure for additional awards or prizes; expenditure that was additional would meet an award, the first Caribbean Writers Award, and this of course would be for the anglophone Caribbean,” he said.

As to why the new award would be restricted to the English-speaking Caribbean, the Cabinet Secretary said he believed it had to do with the committee’s capacity to deal with foreign language entries.

“You can’t seriously consider the Guyana Prize and its mechanisms having the capacity to judge competently Spanish, Dutch and French and English. There’re certain limitations and that is why I think that the suggestion dealt with the language with which we’re comfortable, and that is why I think the anglophone,” he posited.

Dr Luncheon also announced that funds had been approved for the holding of writers’ workshops under the auspices of the Prize and that the cabinet agreed to a recommendation to honour Guyanese-born author Sir Wilson Harris, a two-time winner of the Prize who resides in England. Creighton said the workshops had been a part of the Prize in earlier years but had been discontinued owing to technical difficulties, since they had been using the judges to run the events.

He noted that previously there had been no budget for those workshops which many people had viewed as being useful. He added that there have been discussions over time on the necessity of including workshops in the Prize.

“If you want to be developmental then you have to  include that,” Creighton said.
On the decision to honour Sir Wilson, Creighton said the decision had gained “great support from various areas.”

The Guyana Prize for Literature was founded by President Desmond Hoyte in 1987 and was intended to be awarded biennially in categories including best book of fiction, best first book of fiction, best book of poems, best first book of poems, and best play. However, the last award ceremony was held in 2007 for the 2006 prizes.

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