I refer to a letter submitted by Ruel Johnson and published in the Sunday Stabroek of April 25 under the headline ‘The Guyana Prize for Literature has gone missing.’ Mr Johnson raises a number of issues and makes several allegations, but this response is confined only to the matter of the Guyana Prize.
It is just to say that there has been no “erasure of the national prize for literature” and to give the reassurance that the Prize Management Committee is committed to the presentation of the award in the usual way and that arrangements are in progress for the Prize in 2010. As soon as I am able to announce further details they will be made public.
Mr Johnson has yet again raised his dissatisfaction that most often the winners of the Prize reside overseas. This again causes me to ask him a simple question: to whom should the Guyana Prize be given? Should it go to the best book whether or not the writer is local? Or should it go to a local writer whether or not his book is the best?
The real issue is the creation of mechanisms for the development of local writers which the Guyana Prize needs to make renewed efforts to get funds to do. This will be attempted.
Guyana Prize for Literature