The Lignum Vitae Writing 2015 Award (Deer, 2015, February 27), which is an amalgamation of three (3) different writing awards, has finally chosen their shortlist (The Jamaica Gleaner, 2015, October 18) of nine (9) potential winners from a field of forty three (43) entries from Jamaica and the diaspora.
All vying for the JA$1 million prize that the Lignum Vitae Writing Awards, with the winners to be announced at a reception at the National Gallery of Jamaica (Fyffe, 2015, October 28) on Friday November 6th 2015 starting at 5:30pm.
Staged by the Jamaican Writers Society in collaboration with the Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency, other sponsors contributed to the prize purse being offered to the writers:
- HEART Trust/NTA
- Nucleus Creative
- Scarlette Beharie
- Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica
The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica sponsored the Jean D’Costa Award and along with the other sponsors, makes the Lignum Vitae Writing Awards, the largest literary awards in the Caribbean.
Its largess can be gauged by the number of entries received for the various Awards:
- 24 Novels for the Una Marson Award for adult literature
- 12 Novels for the Vic Reid Award for young adult literature
- 7 Novels for the Jean D’Costa Award for children’s literature
That’s quite an impressive list of entries, but the disparities in the entries directly relate to the prizes being offered for each literary category:
- JA$$500,000 for the Una Marson Award for adult literature
- JA$250,000 for the Vic Reid Award for young adult literature
- JA$250,000 for the Jean D’Costa Award for children’s literature
So who’s judging the entries to determine the winner?
The Lignum Vitae Writing 2015 Award – Judges will give the spotlight to Writing in Jamaica
Still, I’m surprised that so few entries came in for the children’s category. One would have though children’s books were the easiest genre to write stories and novels!
But apparently the novelists are targeting the up and coming readers (Robehmed, 2015, July 22) as the Bestselling author in the US of A are doing. Indeed it may be a case that younger readers are looking for the Jamaican equivalent of Goosebumps horror series or Diary of a Wimpy Kid from Jamaican soil but haven’t discovered them.
Winning the Lignum Vitae Writing Awards could change all that!
That short list of nine (9) writers are at various stages of their developement as writers are to be judged by a panel is made of writers, critics and academics I’ve never really heard of, save to say they’re pretty old people!
For the Una Marson Award for adult literature, the three-member panel is comprised as follows:
- Chairman Dr Erna Brodber, who is a Novelist and academic
- Dr Kezia Page
- National librarian, Winsome Hudson
The Vic Reid Award for young adult literature is being adjudicated by the following people:
- A-dZiko Simba Gegele
- Cherrell Shelley Robinson
- Carolyn Allen
The Jean D’Costa Award for children’s literature, it seems, is the only literary category where one of the judges is after whom it is named is actually alive:
- Jean D’Costa
- Rebecca Tortello
- Hazel Campbell
Personally I’m interested to see who will win these various cash awards, whether they’re traditional, established writers or persons who are newcomers to the writing world. It would definitely be great if the financial incentives were higher to encourage more persons to write, but even better if the level of exposure was on the same scale as say, Digicel Rising Stars!
Competitions like the Lignum Vitae Writing Award are an added incentive to continue plugging away at our craft in the hopes that one day you’ll be recognized and be catapulted into the limelight as a true writer. Making a living directly from writing instead of having to resort to content blogging (Deer, 2015, September 16) would be even sweeter, as this would expand the craft and create yet another career option that the creatively inclined can pursue.
I just hope that they choose someone who has mainstream potential and not a traditional writer who sticks to an older story-telling style, but someone who is willing to expand into other genres outside of the Caribbean experience but with a dash of Caribbean and Jamaican flavourings in their writing.
- Deer, L. (2015, February 27). JA$1 million Lignum Vitae Writing Awards launched to encourage New Jamaican Writers. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/lignum-vitae-writing-awards-jamaican-writers/
- Robehmed, N. (2015, July 22). The World’s Top-Earning Authors 2015: James Patterson, John Green And Veronica Roth Lead Ranking. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2015/07/22/james-patterson-john-green-and-veronica-roth-lead-the-worlds-top-earning-authors-2015/
- Deer, L. (2015, September 16). How Jamaicans can make money online – Content Blogging and Writing Books. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/content-blogging-and-writing-books/
- The Jamaica Gleaner. (2015, October 18). Lignum Vitae Writing Award Shortlist Revealed. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/art-leisure/20151018/lignum-vitae-writing-award-shortlist-revealed
- Fyffe, D. N. (2015, October 28). Lignum Vitae Awards. Retrieved from https://jamaicanwriterssociety.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/lignum-vitae-awards-change-of-date/