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Young writers receive top honours
The Allen Prize for Young Writers held its inaugural awards ceremony on May 14, giving certificates and cash prizes to 22 writers aged 12-19 years. The private ceremony took place in Fairways, Maraval. Anabelle Castagne of Holy Name Convent took home the top prize, Young Writer of the Year, and $2,500, as well as the Senior Fiction prize of $1,000. Junior Writer of the Year, Krystoff Kissoon of Fatima College, took home $1,500 in addition to his prize of $1,000 for winning in the Junior Fiction category.
Other winners were:
• Giselle Permell (Junior Poetry - $500).
• Veronika Kratz (Senior Creative Non-Fiction - $1,000).
• Mariella Rivas (Senior Poetry - $1,000).
• Amrita Annamunthodo (Senior Drama - $1,000).
• No prizes were awarded for Junior Drama or Junior Creative Non-Fiction.
Writers were asked to submit a body of work for the competition. Their works, submitted between September to December 2010, were judged in the junior category (ages 12-15) and the senior category (ages 16-19), in four genres: poetry; fiction; creative non-fiction; and drama. Judging was blind and done by a panel led by journalist and author Judy Raymond. The members of the judging panel were Kevin Baldeosingh, Debbie Jacob, Roslyn Carrington, Sharon Millar and Justice James Aboud.
Head judge Judy Raymond said in her remarks, “For the six judges, reading the 80 bodies of work entered…was entertaining and revealing. The entries were ambitious, adventurous and wide-ranging. Few subjects or techniques seemed too large, too deep or too difficult for our young writers. Overall, the junior entries were more unpretentious and unselfconscious than some of the senior entries, but no less ambitious or accomplished. Judge Raymond said,“The writers used rhyme, realism, calypso, high poetic diction, local dialect and Standard English. They offered slices of life and moral lessons, fantasy worlds and folklore.
“Their subjects included not only the more predictable ones, such as school, which was treated in lively and unexpected ways, but also vampires, roti, talking farm animals, immortality, horseracing, cricket, an American detective working in Couva, and an old lady who has a heart attack after the PNM election defeat.” Raymond added, “It’s a hard task, and often a thankless one, but writing matters.” All the finalists and winners will be invited to a writing workshop in July. The Allen Prize plans to publish the winning works in the near future.
• For more information go to http://allenprize.org
The following writers received certificates as finalists in the competition
• Cavan Byrne
• Michelle Chan Wah
• Michael Phillip
• Joshua Sammy
• Kalifa Lovelace
• Harold Raghunandan
• Aleah Joseph
• Simone Delzin
• Shanice Hercules
• Warren G De Mills
• Kevonn Morgan
• Precious St Clair
• Reon Elder
• Maria Reverand
• Aamy Roopnarine
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