A report by Jane van Koeverden for The CBC.
Jamaican writer Olive Senior received today the Matt Cohen Award at the annual Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony in Toronto. The Writers’ Trust of Canada gave out seven prizes in recognition of the year’s best in fiction, nonfiction and short story, as well as mid-career and lifetime achievement awards.
Olive Senior was recognized with the Matt Cohen Award, which is given to a writer who has dedicated their entire professional career to writing and celebrates their body of work.
Olive Senior is the author of 18 books, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. Her collection Over the Roofs of the World was shortlisted for the 2005 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry. Her collection Gardening in the Tropics was in both the International baccalaureate syllabus and the CAPE syllabus for Caribbean schools. Her latest book is the children’s picture book Boonoonoonous Hair, which was illustrated by Laura James.
“Through her poetry, fiction and nonfiction, Olive Senior has been devoted to ensuring that the voices of women, especially those of the Caribbean diaspora, have continued to be heard. ‘I’ve been meandering across borders all my life,’ she has said, and that cross-cultural perspective is what gives her work its refreshing, eye-opening relevance,” said the selection committee, comprised of Patsy Aldana, Graeme Gibson, Wayne Grady and Don Oravec, in a press release.