A recent letter in the press about the Guyana Annual caused me to think back on it. I understand that the Chronicle Christmas Annual was resuscitated by a Guyanese overseas to revive the tradition of short stories and light-hearted anecdotes in the spirit of the festive season.
Now the name of the magazine has been changed and the Guyana Annual has strayed from its promise but it continues to appear at Christmas time and continues to falsely claim the 100 years reputation of the Chronicle, without explanation to us, the people for whose benefit it was intended. That is confusing.
There are other things about the Guyana Annual that are worrying.
This magazine has no focus. It is a holy mixture of everything that can be pulled into it including writing by children, writing by adults, doggerel mixed with poems, advertisements galore.
The last issue includes not one, but five pieces by the editor himself. That is unusual. There should be a review body to prevent mediocre, sub-standard pieces from reaching the public.
As a father of young children growing fast, in every sense I was disgusted by the extract “Molly” with graphic descriptions of a father constantly molesting his daughter. Should such explicit details be printed in a magazine that children are expected to read?
A young girl silently accepts the rape and abuse and plods on. While this can serve to put young children on the alert for such predators, this kind of sensitive education should be introduced in a structured manner rather than in an off-hand way.
Parents and teachers should pay more attention to a magazine that claims to be for children. It should not be left to hobbyists. Love of the arts is not enough.
On the whole the Guyana Annual is poorly edited. It seems that we are satisfied with mediocrity in this country. The editor describes himself as a writer and literary critic but where is the evidence? He seems to be a compiler of biographic details.
Young people’s stories deserve to be published but the best place is in a school magazine. The sponsors of the Guyana Annual can perhaps use the funds to finance a school magazine where senior students can learn about selecting good work, layout, editing and publishing with guidance from their teachers.
Alternatively, this magazine should stick to being a Christmas Annual as the donor intended. Incidentally, who owns this magazine? Who selects the editor or is the current editor there for life?
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