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Signifcant Changes to Inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature

The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature

On Thursday afternoon, the organizers of the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature announced some significant changes to the competition, widening the pool of books now eligible for entry. The Burt Award, announced at the 2013 Bocas Literary Festival, Port of Spain, Trinidad targets young adult literature, a field in Caribbean publishing almost as desolate as the dystopian landscapes which populate many YA novels.

A critical change to the eligibility criteria has been the inclusion of self-published works which will now be accepted by the awards. Additionally, while the awards originally asked that all submissions be made by publishers, it now accepts submissions from authors directly.

The deadline for entry been extended from its August to October 25, 2013 and the year of publication for of the books have also been widened. The Caribbean Burt Awards will now accept works published from as far back as October 1, 2009 up to October 24, 2009. However, in subsequent awards, only books published in the 12 months prior to the competition deadline will be eligible.

“We hope that these revisions will allow more great works of Young Adult literature by Caribbean authors to be submitted to the Award so that more young people in the Caribbean will gain access to books they will love to read,” said Catherine Belshaw, Literary Awards Officer.

The changes were made subsequent to concerns raised by the region’s authors and publishers. The awards were established by Code in collaboration with William Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation and the Bocas Literary Festival.

The awards longlist will be announced in February 2014 and three winners will be announced in April 2014 during the NGC Bocas Literary Festival. The Award offers a prize of $10,000 CAD for first place, $7,000  CAD for second place and $5,000 for third. Additionally, winning titles are guaranteed a purchase of up to 2,500 copies for distribution to select libraries, schools and literacy organizations across the region.