Guyana Prize shelves regional lit award over lack of funding

The shortlist for the 2012 Guyana Prize for Literature, due to be announced within the next two weeks, will not include entrants for the regional award, which has been suspended because of a lack of funding.

Professor Jane Bryce, Brendan de Caires, Dr Louis Regis, Professor Daizal Samad and Lori Shelbourn have been appointed the judges for the 2012 awards and they are to meet in Georgetown soon to discuss entries and identify awardees.

The Guyana Prize for Literature Management Com-mittee yesterday announced in a statement that the shortlist is expected between August 15 and August 19, while President Donald Ramotar will confer the awards at a ceremony scheduled for September.

Al Creighton
Al Creighton

The Management Commit-tee, which announced plans for activities in the lead up to the awards ceremony, also disclosed that the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award, the regional prize inaugurated for the 2010 awards, has been suspended for 2012 because of lack of funding.

“It’s just a matter of what funds were released,” Secre-tary for the Guyana Prize Management Committee Al Creighton told Stabroek News yesterday, when asked about the lack of funding for the regional award. “Funds were released for the prize and training and workshops and funds were just not released for that section [the Caribbean Award],” he explained.

He added that there was no reason given for the lack of funding.

Creighton, however, assured that the development did not signal the end of the regional prize. “There will be another application to get the funding for the award,” he said.
The first Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award was won by Myriam Chancy of Haiti for Fiction and Mark McWatt of Guyana for Poetry, while the Prize for Drama was deferred. The Achievement Award went to Sir Wilson Harris.

In the statement released by the Management Commit-tee, Creighton was quoted as saying that the regional prize was the only Caribbean award in all those disciplines. “It helped to put Guyana on the international literary map, widened the audience for Guyanese literature and win honour and respect for the nation as a Caribbean capital for literary achievement,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Manage-ment Committee said members of the jury would deliver public lectures, in collaboration with the Culture Ministry, as part of the activities prior to the presentation of the awards.

Haitian writer Myriam Chancy shakes then President Bharrat Jagdeo’s hand after receiving the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award in the Fiction category for her book ‘The Loneliness of Angels.’ Guyana Prize for Literature Management Committee yesterday announced that there will be no regional prize conferred at the upcoming awards ceremony owing to a lack of funding. (Stabroek News file photo)
Haitian writer Myriam Chancy shakes then President Bharrat Jagdeo’s hand after receiving the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award in the Fiction category for her book ‘The Loneliness of Angels.’ Guyana Prize for Literature Management Committee yesterday announced that there will be no regional prize conferred at the upcoming awards ceremony owing to a lack of funding. (Stabroek News file photo)

Bryce, who heads the Jury, is a Tanzanian Professor of Literature and Film in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature at the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Cave Hill, the Committee said. Guyanese de Caires, who is a co-founder of Moray House Trust, is a literary critic working in Canada; Dr Regis, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, is Head of Department of Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies, at UWI, St Augustine; Samad, who recently resigned as Director of the University of Guyana’s Tain Campus, is a Professor of Literature and has published extensively on literature and also published short fiction; and Shelbourn, a British citizen of the Univer-sity of Leeds, in the UK, is a researcher of West Indian Literature.

Dr Regis would be responsible for the 2013 Martin Carter Memorial Lecture Series to be delivered this month, while Professor Bryce will deliver the 2013 Edgar Mittelholzer Lecture Series next month.

“These outreach activities are designed to carry out the developmental objectives of the Guyana Prize—that at the end of each cycle the Prize would have contributed to the development of local creative writers and national literature in general. They include public lectures by judges and prize-winners… and a wide programme of training,” Creighton was quoted as saying.

The Committee noted that the series of 2012/2013 Writers’ Workshops has been very successful.

Workshops were conducted by Pauline Melville (Creative Writing); Janice Lowe Shinebourne (Fiction); Gaiutra Bahadur (Creative Non-Fiction); Mark McWatt, John Agard, Grace Nichols, and Philip Nanton (Caribbean Poetry); David Dabydeen, Lori Shelbourn, and Al Creighton (Playwriting); Ruel Johnson (Poetry; Short Fiction); and Paloma Mohamed (Drama).

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