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Younger Guyana-based writers dominate the Guyana Prize this year

ruel johnsonThree of the five winners of the prestigious Guyana Prize were younger Guyana-based writers. In fact, of the five who captured prizes, only one was overseas-based. The youngest person ever to win the Prize, ten years ago, won again. Ruel Johnson captured the Guyana Prize for Fiction. The other young writers were Mosa Mathifa Telford, who got the prize for Drama and Cassia Alphonso, another young writer, shared the Guyana Prize for Poetry with accomplished Author and Poet Ian McDonald. Only Chaitram Singh, who won for the First Book of Fiction category, is based overseas.

Professor Jane Bryce in her Judges report paid tribute to the public commitment to Literature in Guyana. She stated that in the past the impression was that overseas based writers had an advantage because of the way publishing was done but she pointed out that publishing has changed with the advent of digital technology: The chair of the jury Professor Bryce announced the winners as she made her report.

President Ramotar in his address recommitted his government’s support of the prize that he noted was started by a previous government.

The winners except for the first book category all received one million Guyana dollars each. The first book received a little less.

The Guyana Prize was initiated by then President Desmond Hoyte in 1987 to stimulate interest in and provide encouragement for, the development of good creative writing among Guyanese in particular and Caribbean writers in general.

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