New Award to Recognize Excellence in Caribbean Literature for Young Adults


An exciting global initiative in Young Adult literature is coming to the Caribbean! The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature was launched today at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, as The Wall Street Journal reports.

Part of a unique global literary award and readership initiative aiming to provide youth everywhere with access to books they will want to read, the Award was established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been supporting literacy and learning for over 50 years – in collaboration with William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation and in partnership with the NGC Bocas Lit Fest. The Award will be accepting submissions from publishers from May 13 until August 23, 2013.

“In the Caribbean, as in many other places around the world, the call for quality, locally-authored reading materials for young people is constantly growing. Supporting the development of books that reflect the lives of readers, providing opportunities for emerging writers to develop and showcase their talents, and stimulating the growth of the regional publishing sector is crucial,” said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter. “And that’s exactly what this Award aims to do – it helps address these issues by celebrating the literary achievements of Caribbean authors and improving young readers’ access to books that are engaging and meaningful to them.”

The Award will be given annually to three English-language literary works for Young Adults by Caribbean authors. A First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CAD and a Third Prize of $5,000 CAD will be awarded to the winning authors. The publishers of each winning title will also receive a guaranteed purchase of up to 3,000 copies, ensuring the books will get into the hands of young people in schools, libraries and community organizations across the Caribbean.

For this new initiative, CODE will build on the success it has achieved in implementing the Burt Award in four African countries, as well as its long established partnerships in the Caribbean.

“Oftentimes, the only books Caribbean youth have access to are the textbooks they use in school. But textbooks don’t encourage them to develop a love of reading,” said William (Bill) Burt, who was instrumental in its founding and financially supports the Award. “I hope that the high-quality books that will emerge from these annual awards will make young people love to read, build their language skills and, eventually, help them to make a lasting difference in their communities.”

Since its inception in 2008, the Burt Award for African Literature has resulted in the publication of nearly 150,000 copies of 24 titles for young adults in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. The inaugural Call for Manuscripts for the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature was launched in September 2012 in Canada and the first winners will be announced in the fall of 2013.

The winners of the Inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature will be announced at the Bocas Lit Fest in April 2014.

For further details on the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, go to

For the original report go to

2 thoughts on “New Award to Recognize Excellence in Caribbean Literature for Young Adults

  1. I am a Caribbean-American and I am proud to be an educated Jamaican in the states. The initiative is great way of exposing youth to works they can relate to by authors of their own culture and lifestyle. People need more literate role models to look up to, instead of glamorizing the entertainment industry ALONE. 1love

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