We need to know where we fell short
The letter by D.Thorne in today’s issue of KN and captioned “The 2010 Guyana Prize was the most catastrophic ever” has prompted me to write this. I had read the one by Ruel Johnson and had wanted to put up this since then, but I hesitated, since as a newcomer to Guyana literature I did not want to get involved in a controversy.
You see, in my retirement years in Toronto I have written a first fiction novel about life in a mythical country which could be mistaken for Guyana. I had it self-published and when I saw the advertisement for the Guyana Prize in December 2010, I sent my six copies to the Prize Committee by registered post from the Anna Regina Post Office.
I received no acknowledgement of receipt and some time afterwards I sent a self-addressed stamped envelope to one of the judges (name provided) asking for some indication that the parcel was received, but unto now there has been no reply. Then from here in Toronto I sent an e-mail to the address given in the prize advertisement asking again for confirmation that my submission was received, and again there was no reply.
So far as I was able to see, the award of the Prize was not carried in any of the daily newspapers, at least not in the internet versions. I saw it published on Demerara Waves, and no award was made for the first fiction category, even though they admitted some interesting submissions were made.
While I agree with most of what Messrs. Johnson and Thorne have said in their letters, I am not going to set about making any criticisms here, apart from mentioning in passing that none of the judges seemed ever to have written or published a fictional novel, and whereas one does not have to be a chef to be a gourmet, as a lady once told me you cannot really know about child-delivery unless you have delivered one. As any author will tell you, writing a novel is something like delivering a child.
The whole purpose of this letter is to ask that if the judges, or the Ministry of Culture, are truely interested in promoting literature in Guyana, they send us urgenty and without delay, by e-mail or otherwise, fair criticisms of the works we submitted, so that we can see where we fell short of the high standards they quite properly require of budding writers. My e-mail address could be obtained from KN’s editor, and I hereby respectfully ask and authorise or it to be delivered to the Prize Committee or the Ministry if they request it.
Kumar D. Doobay