Although more than a year has passed since the deadline for entries for the Guyana Prize for Literature, it may well be a few months more before the announcement of the awards as the organising committee is in engagement with the Ministry of Education to iron out the issue of funding.
Chairman of the Guyana Prize for Literature Committee Al Creighton, when contacted yesterday, explained that while the awards as well as the accompanying Literary Festival are expected to all be completed before year’s end, he could not definitively state a date for when this would be likely until details are finalised. He did, however, indicate that there are tentative dates for these activities.
Creighton noted that the committee is currently engaged in talks with the Ministry of Education regarding funding and so was hesitant to make an official statement on the matter, until things were certain.
However, he did reveal that the judging process is still to be completed, as this aspect of the awards has also been constrained by the lack of funds. Creighton had stated that the competition judges are not all locally based.
Creighton related that in the meantime, the Guyana Prize has been conducting work in the background, and referenced the recently held workshop which featured prize-winning novelist Professor Karen King-Aribasala.
He noted that the committee plans to continue on this trajectory, hosting similar writer development workshops, and indicated that soon they would be extending the classes offered by the National Drama School’s creative writing course, to other writers outside of the diploma programme, who will be able to benefit from an ‘extended workshop’ of sorts, over the next few months.
Last January, the Guyana Prize for Literature opened for entries, calling for works published between January 1st, 2015 and December 31st, 2016. The deadline for those entries was March 31st, 2017.
The Guyana Prize, established in 1987, seeks to “promote, encourage and reward the generation of good literature in Guyana in particular and the Caribbean in general,” according to its website
The site relates that the Prize is awarded every two years, with the winners being decided by a jury of five prominent writers and critics, who are known for their expertise in literature and the arts. “The books in the Guyana Prize for Literature collection represent an entire historical epoch in our literature since this prize had had much to do with a resurgence of writing by local and overseas Guyanese,” it added.