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Lignum Vitae Awards 2017 In Full Bloom

Lignum Vitae Writing Awards 2017 Now Open

The 2017 edition of the Lignum Vitae Writing Awards is now in full bloom. The second iteration of the awards is now open for entries, offering $1 million in prizes across three categories. The biennial awards were created through the collaborative efforts of the Jamaican Writers Society (JaWS) and the Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY) and is open to Jamaican writers on island and in the Diaspora, as well as writers resident in Jamaica.

The Lignum Vitae Writing Awards are open to writers living in Jamaica and Jamaican writers living elsewhere. It promotes and celebrates writing under three branches: the Una Marson prize accepts writing for adults offering an award of $500,000.00; the Vic Reid prize accepts writing for young adults and offers an award of $250,000.00; while the Jean D’Costa prize awards writing for children’s with $250,000.00. 

The inaugural edition of the Lignum Vitae Awards took place in 2015, receiving 43 entries. Donna Hemans’ Tea by the Sea earned the Una Marson Award; Diana McCaulay’s Gone to Drift swam away with the Vic Reid Award, while anet Morrison’s A Better You: A Better Me snagged the Jean D’Costa Award.

Indeed, three of the shortlisted and winning entries have subsequently been published: Gone to Drift, Kei Miller’s Augustown and Garfield Ellis’ The Angel’s Share both shortlisted for the Una Marson Award. 

All three awards are open to novels or collections of short stories. Additionally, the Una Marson Award also accepts works of literary nonfiction, including essay collections.

Entries to the 2017 Lignum Vitae Writing Awards close June 30, 2017. The award ceremony will be held in November. The Awards are a resuscitation of the National Literary Competition held by the now dormant National Book Development Council.