Port-of-Spain, April 25, 2014 −The first winners of a unique literary award that will provide thousands of youth across the Caribbean region with access to exciting new titles were announced on April 25th.
The inaugural gala for CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, recognizing outstanding literary works for young adults written by Caribbean authors, was held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, as part of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.
A-dZikoGegele received the first prize of $10,000 CAD for All Over Again (published by Blouse and Skirts Books), Joanne Hillhouse, from Antigua and Barbuda, won the second prize of $7,000 CAD for her soon to be published manuscript Musical Youth, while the third prize of $5,000 CAD went to Colleen Smith-Dennis of Jamaica for Inner City Girl (published by LMH Publishing.) The finalists were selected by a jury administered by The Bocas Lit Fest and made up of writers, literacy experts and academics from the Caribbean and Canada.
The Award’s book purchase and distribution program will ensure that a minimum of 2,500 copies of each of the three winning titles will be put into the hands of young people through schools, libraries and community organizations across the Caribbean. Winning publishers also commit to actively market an additional minimum of 1,200 copies of each winning title throughout the region.
“CODE is proud to support talented Caribbean writers and help to strengthen the region’s publishing industry,” said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter. “But we’re even prouder to be able to provide young people across the Caribbean with award-winning books that can ignite a lifelong love of reading and learning, while opening the doors to a brighter future.”
“The directors of the Bocas Lit Fest are delighted to be partners with CODE in this exciting initiative,” said Marina Salandy-Brown, founder of the organization that hosts Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival. “The prizes are just the shot in the arm that the publishing industry needs in our region and particularly in an important area that is very underserved, young adult literature. Everyone is a winner here.”
The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature was established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for 55 years – in collaboration with William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation.The Award is the result of a close collaboration with CODE’s local partners in the Caribbean, The Bocas Lit Fest and CaribLit.
CODE’s Burt Award is a global readership initiative and is also currently established in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Canada.
To read more about the winning books and their authors, go to www.code.ngo/burt-award-caribbean/meet-winners