Guyanese Literature – by Petamber Persaud
The Caribbean Press Creative Writing Workshop 2010
A one-day creative writing workshop staged on Thursday September 2, 2010 by The Caribbean Press, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, was a seed planted towards the development of new writings by Guyanese.
A seed planted was how the workshop was conceived and executed because of time constraints. Because of the time constraints the organisers, facilitators and participants were not deluded as to the intent and purpose of a one-day workshop. A one-day workshop was to create a climate to encourage writing, to give tips on honing writing skills, to examine pitfalls and shortcomings in writing, and to offer a reality check to emerging writers.
The workshop was officially opened by the Minister of Culture, Youth & Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, who exhorted the participants to ‘learn as much as possible from the facilitators’. This act of facilitating new writings by Guyanese was a complementary move of The Caribbean Press which was established to reprint rare and out-of-print books on Guyana.
The Caribbean Press was established in 2009 by the Government of Guyana. The idea of such a publishing house was first mooted during Carifesta X, Guyana 2008, in an effort to leave an enduring legacy of the festival staged by this country.
The facilitators of the workshop were Ruel Johnson who won the Guyana Prize for Literature in the fiction category in 2002 and Elly Niland who won the Guyana Prize for Literature in the poetry category in 2006; Niland was ably assisted by her son, Philip Niland. There were two groups, one focusing on the short fiction and the other on poetry; both groups however touched on the art of writing before concentrating on particular genres.
A full complement of thirty participants was drawn from across the country, including children from the Essequibo Coast, Bartica, West Demerara, Region 4 and Berbice. It was intriguing how vocal and robust the children were in their interaction with facilitators and fellow participants, at times extending the facilitators. That exchange was informative and elucidating; informative in that the organisers (and facilitators) were happy with the efforts of the day.
Such a workshop will be held annually.
Responses to this author telephone (592) 226-0065 or email: oraltradition2002@ yahoo.com
· The first eleven titles of the Guyana Classics Library are now available to the public. Please contact me for more information.
· The Guyana Annual 2010-2011 issue is under production; submissions of poetry, short story, articles welcomed.