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2017 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature Finalists Announced

Burt Award 2017 finalists announced

Trinidadians Kevin Jared Hosein and Lisa Allen-Agostini and Puerto Rican Viviana Prado-Nunez will be vying for the three top spots and CA$22,000 in prizes in the 2017 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. The three finalists of the award were announced today, March 22, 2017. The award, searching for the best in young adult fiction from the region, is now in its fourth iteration.

Prado-Nunez’ self-published novel The Art of White Roses is the only previously published of the three selected works. Both Allen-Agostini with Waiting on the Bus, and Jared Hosein with The Beast of Kukuyo submitted manuscripts.

Interestingly, Jared Hosein is also vying for the OCM Bocas prize as his debut novel, The Repenters (Peepal Tree Press) has been longlisted for the fiction award. He was the 2015 regional prize winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for ‘The King of Settlement 4’ and was twice shortlisted for the Small Axe fiction prize.

Prado-Nunez currently lives in Maryland. She has previously published in the Synergy literary magazine and earned two national (US) gold medals in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for poetry and short stories.

Allen-Agostini is a writer and journalist who co-edited the Trinidad Noir anthology, published in the Akashic Books Noir series. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Hollick-Arvon Prize for emerging writers. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Wasafiri, SX Salon, and Susumba’s Book Bag.

“One of the unique features of the Burt Award is that CODE ensures young readers have access to the winning titles,” said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter in a release. “We are thrilled not only to celebrate our three nominated authors but also by the prospect of bringing their stories into the world and connecting them with Caribbean youth.”

A key part of the award is that over 7,000 copies of winning titles are distributed to schools and literacy agencies around the region. The 2017 award was adjudicated by literary agent Barry Goldblatt, librarian Jasmin Simmons, and Nicola Swift, programme manager of the Miami Book Fair.

The winners of the 2016 iteration of the award are currently slated for publication by end of April 2017. Dreams Beyond the Shore (formerly De First Family) by Tamika Gibson and Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell are forthcoming from Blouse & Skirt Books while The Protector’s Pledge by Danielle Y.C. McClean is being published by Caribbean Reads.

The winners of the 2017 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature will be announced on April 26, 2017, during the 2017 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, in Port of Spain, Trinidad.