The Awards Ceremony for the “2015 Walter Rodney Creative Writing Awards” was held on Wednesday at the Moray House, which is considered as “hallowed ground” for creative persons.
The winners of the competition, Andrew Hutson, Jivita Pyneandy and Akola Thompson, read their respective works. The answers are never on time; Once upon a Renegade and The Awakening; to the audience.
Both first and second place winners received honorary mention for their submissions in last years’ competition which was won by Saraswattie Bharrat and Subraj Singh.
Aside from the handing over ceremony and launch, the small gathering soon became a space for commentary regarding one of the rules which had been included in this year’s prize. The issue was raised by one of the winners who stated that the rule which points out that writers will be disqualified if they submitted, “defamatory, profane or potentially insulting,” work, “stifles the creativity of writers and also infringes on their freedom of expression.”
“I have not seen this year’s guidelines as yet,” she said, “but I do hope that if it is still included, the prize managers should see it fit to remove it.”
The rule was supported by local coordinator of the event, Mark Tumbridge, theatre personality, Malcolm DeFreitas and Playwright, Dr. Paloma Mohamed.
Further on in the segment however, Mohamed stated that she is in support of such a rule for non-fiction awards and not for creative writing awards.
Upon the launching segment of next year’s competition, it was revealed that the specific rule had been taken out of the prize guidelines, because the issue was raised by several other young writers who had submitted for this year’s prize with the prize committee.
The award which is under the patronage of a private philanthropist, seeks to improve the standard and discourse of creative writing in Guyana; the main focus being, on rewarding original works from recent and current students at the University of Guyana.
The Walter Rodney Creative Writing Award was launched in October 2013, under the auspices of the Walter Rodney Foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The WRF seeks to improve lives and build capacity through scholarship and programs that promote education, health and human development from a social justice perspective.
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