Dabydeen wins fourth Guyana Prize for Literature award

UK-based Professor David Dabydeen claimed his fourth Guyana Prize for Literature award while Haitian writer Myriam Chauncy was the first recipient of the Prize’ s Caribbean Award for fiction.

The two, along with Mark McWatt, a double winner in the categories for best poetry and the Caribbean Award – poetry, were the highlights of an evening where for once poetry triumphed over the fiction submissions as related by Chairman of Jury Professor Victor Ramraj. McWatt is also a previous winner of the Guyana Prize.

Dabydeen won with his work “Molly and the Muslim Stick” while Chauncy had the honour of the inaugural Caribbean Award for her book “The Loneliness of Angels.” McWatt’s “The Journey to Le Repentir” was the judges’ favourite in the poetry categories. Harold Bascom won the Guyana Prize for Best Drama with his radio drama “Blank Document.”

Also presented Thursday night was a lifetime achievement award to Guyanese author Sir Wilson Harris for his contributions to West Indian Literature. Neither Bascom nor Sir Wilson were on hand to collect their awards with Dabydeen standing in for the former.

There were no awards for the Best First Book of Fictions and Poetry as the judges felt none of the submissions had live up to standards of the Prize. However, honourable mentions were made of Terrence Roberts and Parmeshwar Lall’s poetry submissions.

At the ceremony, President Jagdeo said his government will wholeheartedly commit more resources since it is clear that literature plays a significant role in molding societies. President Jagdeo highlighted that in small societies like Guyana’s often times it is difficult to place emphasis on honest complex issues and themes for fear of segregation due to lessons learnt from the country’s turbulent past.
“It breaks taboos al lows complex issues to be explored, it forms a reason, intellect, creativity, help people forge an identity and in our context are as valid and important as the sustainability to growth and maturity of society as the economy and social issues are and therefore it is important that we encourage this process.”
President Jagdeo commended the writers for their perseverance and for preserving the Caribbean’s distinct cultures which he said should receive the full support from government’s.
“It is clear that governments have to be part of the promotion of creativity and given all that and i mention in particularly in small societies like our ours creativity can help us to head differences and the way out to the future.”
The awards were established to provide a focus for the recognition of the creative writing of Guyanese at home and abroad which will stimulate the interest and provide encouragement for the development Guyanese in particular and the Caribbean writers in general.

For the original reports go to http://www.demerarawaves.com/index.php/Latest/2011/09/02/dabydeen-wins-fourth-guyana-prize-for-literature-award.html and http://ncnguyana.com/ncngy/index.php/entertainment/entertainment-news1928273029/books172008972/1289-guyanese-writers-dominate-11th-literature-awards

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