In the midst of the gloom of the pandemic, one T&T writer has found reason to celebrate. Brenda Mohammed received the Prashamshith Pathr (Certificate of Appreciation) from one of the world’s most active writers’ forum, Motivational Strips, and the Indian government’s most respected literary institution, Gujarat Sahitya Academy. It was awarded to 350 prominent writers from 80 countries as India marked its 74th Independence Day on August 15.
It’s a phenomenal achievement for a woman who was battling ovarian cancer 15 years ago. Forced to seek medical help abroad, Mohammed travelled to the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Centre for surgery and chemotherapy. Not only did she fully recover and was able to return to her job at Republic Bank but that journey shaped everything she did after that.
As a cancer survivor, many who were ailing sought her advice encouraging her 2013 book I Am Cancer Free. It became very popular among those fighting the disease.
“That gave me the encouragement to write more books,” Mohammed said.
That’s exactly what she did. To date, she has written 27 multi-genre novels climbing the ladder at various prominent writers groups around the globe.
A year after joining the Literary Forum, Motivational Strips, the world’s most active writers’ forum with writers from 163 countries and monthly visitors crossing 7.3 million, she was appointed Regional Director of Operations. In October 2018, she was appointed an Honorary Member of the World Higher Literary Academic Council of World Nations Writers’ Union.
Her Prashamshith Pathr award made headlines in several newspapers around the world.
“I was delightfully surprised when I saw my name on the list of awardees. This is not just a premium award for me, but more than that, I value it as the success of Trinidad and Tobago writers,” she said.
Founder of Motivational Strips, Shiju Pallithazheth said it was “a happy moment to see Trinidad and Tobago shining in the world literary map and Brenda Mohammed crowned as its literary gem.”
While it maybe the highlight of her writing career, it certainly isn’t her first award. In January, the Vistabella resident was inducted into The Indie Authors Hall of Fame in the United States —an establishment for self-published authors who have achieved fame. In December 2018, she was awarded the World Laureate in Literature by World Nations Writers’ Union. On August 31, 2019, Mohammed was honoured by the Seychelles Government Accredited Literary Society [ LLSF] for her contribution to world poetry, creativity, and writing expertise.
Her genres include memoirs, science fiction, romance, self-help, mystery, children’s books, and poetry. In fact, her self-help book, How to Write for Success, became an important guide for new and aspiring authors. It received a five-star review and a five-star seal from Readers Favorite one month after publication. It also won the gold award in the category non-fiction in Connections EMagazine Readers’ Choice awards 2019 and a silver medal for second place in all genres.
It would seem that Mohammed doesn’t need any further inspiration with so many awards and accolades bestowed on her but she says: “This award has given me encouragement to do more work in the field of literature that will benefit the world at large.”
Now, as great T&T writers such as VS Naipaul, CLR James and Earl Lovelace have done in the past, she wants to create literature as a form of tourism for this country.
“Although this is a literature award, I see this as a way of boosting tourism in Trinidad and Tobago. Motivational Strips is the world’s most active writers’ forum and has writers from 163 countries with monthly visitors crossing 7.3 million. All eyes are now focused on Trinidad and Tobago and whenever the pandemic ends, I hope we will see a flux of visitors to this country.”
Though the Prashamshith Pathr award is her crowning achievement thus far, it is by no means the final chapter in Brenda Mohammed’s story.