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Diana McCaulay Cops Hollick Arvon Prize 2014

Diana McCaulay

Writer and environmentalist Diana McCaulay blew past the competition to claim the second Hollick Arvon Prize for emerging writers as her own with her manuscript Loving Jamaica at the 2014 Trinidad and Tobago Literary Festival, the Bocas Lit Fest. 

Chief Judge, Professor Funso Aiyejina described Loving Jamaica as potentially ground-breaking work that combines “the penetrating vision and imagery of creative fiction with the matter of fact approach of a socially conscious and committed journalist/social scientist”. 

“It is a work that ventures beyond the safe shores of established themes and one that promises to create new boundaries and functionalities,” Prof Aiyejina said. 

Now in its second year, the award fielded entries from St. Lucia, Bermuda, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, the Bahamas, Grenada, and St. Vincent. 

The award which totals US$15,000 provides the winner an opportunity to advance an existing manuscript. The multi-tiered prize provides the author with a cash award of US$4,500 access to mentorship, as well as opportunities to attend a workshop of their choice at the prestigious Arvon … access to mentorship, and network with agents of Rogers, Coleridge and White.

Prof Aiyejina explained that, in the main, the 27 entrants received in this year’s competition were of a high calibre. 

“The judges were impressed by the fact that most of the submissions were eloquent, insightful, passionate and exciting,” said Aiyejina.

Lord Hollick, sponsor of the award, highlighted the value of having engagingly written non-fiction. Describing himself as a man who once consumed non-fiction works in “industrial quantities” he pointed out that many writers succeed at doing in-depth research, they stumble on creating compelling writing.

“It’s only the well written, the well-crafted that are likely to command attention,” Lord Hollick said.

Lord Hollick, also a member of the judging panel, noted that even those which had not made the final cut should be encouraged.

“They had some great ideas, and deserve to be encouraged,” Lord Hollick said.

The Hollick Arvon award was announced during the fourth installation of the Bocas Literary Festival on April 26, 2014. The awards took place in combination with the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature at the Academy for the Performing Arts. The Bocas Lit Fest 2014 culminated on Sunday, April 27.