“We are building on the solid foundation laid down by the National Book Development Council. The Una Marson and Vic Reid Awards have been won by esteemed Jamaican writers such as Professor Mervyn Morris, Pam Mordecai, Garfield Ellis and Kei Miller,”
JaWS (Jamaican Writers Society) President Tanya Batson-Savage at the St Andrew Parish Library, Tom Redcam Drive, Kingston on Tuesday February 10th, 2015 during the launch of the Lignum Vitae Writing Awards
Finally, my prayers have been partially answered; Jamaica now has a Writing Competition that actually pays Digicel Rising Stars level money as I’ve long opined (Deer, 2014 May 18) called the Lignum Vitae Writing Awards.
The Competition, named after the Jamaican national flower that also happens to be a potential cure (Deer, 2014, August 16) for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) being developed by Dr. Henry Lowe of Medicanja fame, was launched with the intention to be the panacea for the ailing literary community. Yes folks, increased prize money can do that, Digicel Rising Star’s style!
- Jean D’Costa Award for children’s fiction
- Una Marson Award for adult literature
- Vic Reid Award for young adult fiction
The Vic Reid Award and the Una Marson Award are long established awards. The Jean D’Costa Award is brand new and is being launched this year as well.
You can check out the newly created The Lignum Vitae Writing Award Facebok page as well as The Jamaica Writer’s Society Website and The Jamaica Writer’s Society Facebook Page, both of which barely have traffic, thanks to having no prior advertising…as I didn’t even knew they existed!
Writing in Jamaica is dead due to lack of Financial Compensation
In Jamaica, the financial compensation for Writers is lacking. For this reason, many have turned to blogging or self-publishing, with full-time writing being reduced to a mere part-time hobby, as writing cannot put food on the table.
Thus for this reason, very few Caribbean authors outside of those already published have emerged.
So it’s good to hear that even the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce wants to have writers earn a living purely from writing to quote Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Sandra Ffolkes Abrahams: “What we want to do is make it an industry [so that writers can] get the money you should have been getting for many years and making a living off your talent”.
Lignum Vitae Writing Awards – By their Power Combined, Awards for Starving Jamaican Writers
Apparently, like Captain Planet, with their powers combined, they’ve joined forces to offer a total of JA$1,000,000 (Cooke, 2015) as follows:
- JA$500,000.00 if you win the Una Marson Award for adult literature
- JA$250,000.00 if you win the Vic Reid Award for young adult fiction
- JA$250,000.00 if you win the Jean D’Costa Award for children’s fiction
JAMCOPY Chairman Mark Thomas hinted at the possibility that the prize money may double, possibly if Corporate Jamaica pitch in an extra JA$2 million more to make it a cool JA$3 million with JAMCOPY standing to benefit, quote: “It is not a lot of money, but it is an important start. We hope that as JAMCOPY’s collections grow, we can offer even larger prizes to writers”.
How’s about a cool US$1 million instead!? Just a thought……
The Lignum Vitae Writing Awards is open to all Jamaican writers of all ages, both locally and internationally (Jamaican Writers Society, 2015), as well as Foreigners who’ve been in a Jamaica and overstayed their visitor’s VISA and settled down as Naturalized Jamaicans. Entries can be Novels, collections of short stories and creative non-fiction works including essay collections.
Interestingly, there is an entry fee of JA$4000 for the Una Marson Award for adult literature and a JA$2000 entry fee for both the Vic Reid Award for young adult fiction as well as the Jean D’Costa Award for children’s fiction. I guess you have to be VERY serious about entering and is really a measure to keep spammers from sending in pointless entries.
The Lignum Vitae Writing Awards accepts manuscripts only and they must be submitted anonymously i.e. don’t use your real name, merely a pen-name and include a contact email (not spelt in your name!), phone number and an address so that when you’re selected, they can contact you…..also anonymously.
Your anonymous manuscript will be judged by a panel consisting of some very old people who’ve been writing or lecturing or criticizing written work for long enough to know when something is worth publishing. Hence by not including your name, not only is it keeping with a well established literary tradition, but it also protects you from Writer’s bias.
JAWS and JAMCOPY taking action to jumpstart Writing Industry in Jamaica
Basically, it’s JAWS and JAMCOPY’s VC (Venture Capital) time being offered by Uptown people, as apparently Writing is on the decline to the point that this drastic intervention was necessary.
Now the prizes are combined to create a Digicel-like Competition for Writers seems like the prescription for the Writing Industry that the Doctor Bird, our other National Symbol, ordered!
Even the Government of Jamaica is getting in on the act, with Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Sandra Ffolkes Abrahams talking about Writing as the next Usain Bolt Moment, quote: “Writing awards are an important way to celebrate great writing and bring it to public attention. Jamaican writing is currently enjoying an amazing level of international attention and it is important that we at home also honour and celebrate our writers”.
Albeit not much, if your manuscript wins, you can use it to self-publish your Book (La Font, 2014) on your own Website or Blog, with the money used to advertise and draw traffic to your Website or Blog.
If you don’t, the publicity surrounding your entry will be enough to drive traffic to any blog or Website you can set up to promote your blog. Either way, it’s a win-win for the entrant, as your success in Writing comes down to how you promote yourself using Traditional and Social Media post Lignum Vitae Writing Awards……just like Rising Stars!
But hurry, the deadline is Tuesday June 30th 2015 to submit your manuscripts with the winner being chosen in October 2015. Email Scarlett Beharie (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she’ll send you a boatload of details!
Here’s the link:
- Karin (2015, February 22). JAMAICAN WRITING TO BLOSSOM FROM THE LIGNUM VITAE WRITING AWARDS. Retrieved from http://www.yardedge.net/books/jamaican-writing-to-blossom-from-the-lignum-vitae-writing-awards
- Cooke, M. (2015, February 15). Lignum Vitae Awards To Offer $1m In Writing Prizes. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20150215/ent/ent6.html
- Deer, L. (2014, August 16). Dr. Lowe develops HIV Cure from Lignum Vitae Extract – Lignum Vitae Equivalent of Mellitin in Bee Venom may be the Tree of Life for AIDS Treatment. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/08/dr-lowe-develops-hiv-cure-from-lignum.html
- Jamaican Writers Society. (2015). The Lignum Vitae Writing Awards 2015. Retrieved from https://jamaicanwriterssociety.wordpress.com/the-lignum-vitae-writing-awards/
- La Font, C. (2014, June 1). Building Loyalty With Self-Publishing. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140601/arts/arts2.html
- Deer, L. (2014, May 18). Blogging Competition as Digicel Teams up with The Jamaica Observer to celebrate World Telecommunications Day – Digicel Rising Stars Level Prizes and Digicel Ambassador Post to attract Bloggers. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/05/blogging-competition-as-digicel-teams.html
- Deer, L. (2013, November 13). @JIPOOnline, Protectors of Jamaican Intellectual Property Rights – How Jamaican Dancehall and Reggae Artiste, Inventors and Design Engineers protect their Intellectual Property from The Book Thief. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2013/11/jipo-protectors-of-jamaican.html