Poet Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné has been announced as the 2015 winner of the Caribbean’s leading award for emerging writers, the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize.
The announcement was made on the night of Saturday 2 May at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual festival of words, stories, and ideas. Boodoo-Fortuné was chosen by the prize judges from a shortlist of five writers.
Sponsored for three years (2013–2015) by the Hollick Family Charitable Trust and administered by the Bocas Lit Fest, the Prize gives the winning writer time to advance a poetry collection. In previous years the Prize was open to writers of fiction and non-fiction. It includes a year’s mentoring by an established author and travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive creative writing course of their choice at Arvon, the UK’s leading creative writing organisation.
Boodoo-Fortuné also receives a cash award of 3,000 GBP or US$4,500, and will have three days in London to network with literary professionals, hosted by Arvon, in association with Free Word Centre and agents Rogers, Coleridge & White, who have first option of agenting the winning writer.
The judges praised the technical skills of the young poet, her ability to succinctly convey the complexity of human experiences and the multi-layered responses to such experiences, and commended the sensitive and subtle handling of her subject matter.
Previous winners of the much-coveted award were Jamaican Diana McCaulay in 2014 (non-fiction), and Trinidadian Barbara Jenkins in 2013 (fiction).
A total of 53 writers from across the Caribbean submitted entries for the 2015 Hollick Arvon Prize, the highest number ever. The international judging panel of five was chaired by Funso Aiyejina, author, scholar, and former Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UWI’s St. Augustine campus. The other judges were Jamaican poet and scholar Edward Baugh, Ruth Borthwick of Arvon, London literary agent Jennifer Hewson, and Caroline Hollick, representative of the Hollick Family Charitable Trust.
2015 is the last year the Hollick Arvon Prize will be awarded. At the prize ceremony, Bocas Lit Fest Festival Director Marina Salandy-Brown thanked the UK-based Hollick Family Charitable Trust for sponsoring the prize for three years, and repeated a plea for a new sponsor based in the region to step up and lend support to emerging Caribbean writers.
The Hollick Arvon Prize was one of four literary awards presented during the 2015 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, which ran from 29 April to 3 May. Earlier in the festival, eminent London-based publisher and editor Margaret Busby was presented with the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters, and Guyanese writer Imam Baksh was named the 2015 first-place winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, for literary works written for young adult readers.
At the same award ceremony on 2 May when the Hollick Arvon winner was announced, the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature was presented to St.Lucien, Vladimir Lucien.
The title sponsor of the 2015 festival is the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, First Citizens is the lead sponsor, and One Caribbean Media and the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development are main sponsors. The Ministry of the Arts & Multiculturalism, UWI and Massy Foundation are sponsors.
For the original report go to go-jamaica.com/pressrelease/item.php?id=4556