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Trinidadian Debut Novelist Tamika Gibson wins 2016 Caribbean Burt Award
For the third year in a row, the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, an award encouraging young adult lit, has been won by a debut novelist. On Friday, April 29, 2016, Tamika Gibson became the first Trinidadian to take home first prize and the accompanying CAD$10,000 in the young, yet highly coveted prize.
Gibson, who currently lives in the US Virgin Islands, won the prize for her novel De First Family. Second prize of CAD$7,000 was snagged by Bermuda’s Florenz Webbe Maxwell for Girlcott, while the second Trinidadian in the trio of winners, Danielle Y.C. McClean took home the third prize (CAD$5,000) for The Protector’s Pledge.
While De First Family and Girlcott were previously unpublished, The Protector’s Pledge was a self-published novel.
In addition to the cash prizes, the Burt Award comes with publishing incentives, introducing the manuscripts to regional publishers as well as committing to buy and circulate up to 6,000 copies of the winning titles. The prize is managed by Canadian literacy NGO Code in collaboration with the Bocas Lit Fest.
The 2016 shortlist included Lynn Joseph’s The Truth Is, Carol Mitchell’s Barberry Hill, and Imam Baksh’s The Demise of Queen’s College Adventure Club. Baksh was the 2015 first prize winner. His debut novel Children of the Spider is forthcoming from Blouse & Skirt Books. A-dZiko Simba Gegele’s All Over Again (also published by Blouse & Skirt Books) earned the inaugural prize.
The 2016 award was adjudicated by a panel of three judges chaired by Alcess Lewis-Brown and also comprising Tracey Baptiste and Daniel Jose Older.