The Guyana Annual Competitions: ‘Our stories need to be told’

Copies of the 2018 edition of The Guyana Annual on display on Thursday at the National Library.

The winners of The Guyana Annual 2018 creative arts competitions were on Thursday reminded of the rich legacy preceding them and the heights they can go on to attain.

This year’s edition of the magazine was launched at a ceremony held at the National Library conference room on Thursday, which also served as the awards ceremony for the winners.

The new magazine largely features the work of those who gained places in the competitions, which covered the short story, essay writing, poetry, fine arts, cartooning, photography, drama and journalism.

The judges in the varying categories, who were described as a “marriage of experience and youth,” were: Dr Joyce Jonas, who judged the Dr Puran Singh Open Short Story Competition; Alim Hosein and Subraj Singh, judges of the Republic Bank Open Poetry Competition, the Junior Short Story Competition, the Junior Poetry Competition and the Sheila King Award for Short Stories for Children; Elfrieda Bissember, judge of the Stephanie Correia Award for  Visual Art; Wesley Davis, judge of the Bobby Fernandes Award for Photography; Mosa Telford, judge of the Bertram Charles Award for Drama; Paul Harris, judge of the Hawley Harris Cartoon Competition; Denise Hopkinson-Braam and Nelsonia Persaud-Budhram, judges of the David de Caires Award for Journalism; and GHK Lall and Christopher Ram, who judged the Dr Tulsi Dyal Singh Oil and Gas Essay Competition.

“It marks 20 years since the magazine was resuscitated by our benefactor Dr Toolsie Dyal Singh, through Mr Vic Insanally and Mr Allan Fenty. It also marks the return of the competition aspect of the magazine. The Annual has come home. She has returned to her roots, which was and is to nurture and to proclaim emerging talent whilst honouring those who have come before. It cannot be denied. There is something about seeing your name in print. Our alumni can attest to this,” Danielle Swain, Production Editor of the magazine, stated in her address at the launch.

Swain noted that past winners of the Guyana Annual competitions have gone on to compete and win on larger stages, including the Guyana Prize for Literature, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival emerging pitch prize and the CODE Burt Award for Caribbean literature.

“There is no doubt: graduates of the Guyana Annual go on to do marvelous things,” Swain proclaimed.

Swain referenced Afri-can writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who spoke of the dangers of the “single story,” and asserted that the Guyana Annual provided a platform for writers locally to document their own realities.

“She [Chimamanda] described how the Southern Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe changed her perception of literature. He made her realise that people who looked like her and spoke like her could live in stories too. This is why the Annual continues to be so important. As a former colony, our ancestors’ stories were often told for them. But it was voices like Martin Carter in “This is a Dark Time My Love” and Philip Moore’s 1763 monument that continue to challenge foreign perceptions. This is even more vital with our emerging oil and gas sector. Our stories need to be told. Whatever medium is used to tell it,” Swain said.

Going forward, she related that there will be partnerships with the University of Guyana’s Centre for Communication Studies and other organisations to host workshops for creatives.

The Guyana Annual 2018 will be available at Guyenterprise, Austin’s Bookstore, The National Library, and on for $1,000.

As previously reported, the winners in the various categories of competition are:

The Bobby Fernandes Award for Photography –

First Place- Amanda Richards, “Boats at Ogle”

Second Place- Dwayne Hackett, “Madbull, Run”

Third Place- Jarryl Bryan, “Fishing Boat at Ogle”

Stephanie Correia Award for Visual Arts –

First Place- Jermana DeFreitas, “Reminisce”

Second Place- Jermana DeFreitas, “The Last Light”

Third Place- Walter Gobin, “The Drummers”

Hawley Harris Cartoon Award

Honourable Mentions –

Walter Gobin, “2017 VAT”

Chabilall Seupaul, “Big Mouth”

David de Caires Award for Journalism –

Honourable Mention-Lucas Jonas

The Sheila King Short Stories for Children –

First Place- Kathleen Henriquo, “Kerrilee and the Lucky Pen”

Second Place- David Thomas, “The Spider’s Big Decision”

Third Place- Adelaja Kayode-Dalrymple, “We Two”

Junior Poetry –

First Place- Hadiya McLean, “Waves of Ancestry”

Second Place- Brianna Gopie, “The True Guyana”

Third Place- Abiké Barker, “Dungeon”

Open Poetry –

First Place- Scott Ting-A-Kee, “The Scandal of O Tye Kim”

Second Place- Francis Q. Farrier, “We are older now”

Third Place- Gabrielle E. Mohamed, “Ayl (Oil) Massa”

Junior Short Story –

First Place- Analise Symia Samaroo, “A Bed of Roses”

Honourable Mention- Lucas Jonas, “Ol’ Higue”

Open Short Story –

First Place- Andrew Hutson, “De Gaff”

Second Place- Rae Wiltshire, “Me Fuss Fineral”

Third Place- Malcolm De Freitas, “Losing De Head”

The Bertram Charles Prize for Drama –

First Place- Rae Wiltshire, “Creative Burying Ground”

Dr Tulsi Dyal Singh Oil and Gas Essay competition – First Place- Omari Joseph, “Be Wise…Be Wary…Be United”

Third Place- Vishani Ragobeer, “Scoring Black Gold: A Pyrrhic Victory?”

Honourable Mention- Joenitta Arthur-McKenzie, “Expectations, Environmental Impact, Resource Curse”

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