‘Collies’ were awarded to the four winners Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Competition, at its 12th Annual Awards Ceremony Saturday night in Bridgetown, Barbados. The competition, which is sponsored by the Central Bank of Barbados, rewards literary endeavors on the island. Dr. Karen Lord took the top prize of $10 000 for her scientific themed manuscript entitled “The Best of All Possible Worlds.” It is the second time that she wins the top award in the competition. Second place and $7 000 dollars went to Glenville Lovell for his play, “Sodom.” Former journalist Heather Barker received $3 000 dollars as the third-place winner for her collection of short stories titled “The Millipede Eats the Mongoose”. Dr. Lance Bannister was selected for the coveted Prime Minister’s Award, which recognizes originality in work focused on Barbadian culture. All of the winners were presented with mahogany trophies and read excerpts of their work to the audience.
The keynote address for the evening was given by novelist and poet George Lamming, who spoke about how a study of the uses of literature through the period of 1847-1947 showed that works produced by British writers were “put to use in softening the imperial element of colonialism” and that it has contributed to the lack of cultural identity in the Caribbean region. “The act of reading is metaphorically speaking, an act of eating,” Lamming argued, insisting that the book is a kind of food that influences in the way we shape our thoughts, reality and relate to society. Lamming cited the importance of the inclusion of literature in our lives. “Literature is not about literature. Literature is about the most serious predicament engagement with the realities of daily life,” he explained.
During his speech, he made reference to the works of several Caribbean authors whose work has defined a large part of the regional literature: Mervyn Morris, Kamau Brathwaite, A.J. Vaughn and Derek Walcott. “Shakespeare has got to us but the literature of Africa has not and until this happens no one can say what is the true meaning of Africa for Caribbean peoples. It is precisely this dilemma that has fertilized the imagination in some of the writing.”
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