Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 10th 2016 Contents SUNDAY,
Lance Dowrich, a T&T teacher, is one
of two Caribbean writers whose work
is shortlisted for the 2016 Common-
wealth Short Story Prize.
Dowrich is a learning development profes-
sional who has been teaching for almost 30
years. He said he wrote the story in question,
Ethelbert and the Free Cheese, about 15 years
ago, but never published it.
"It's about a lonely man who wanted recog-
nition and attention, so he buried himself in
his work. Through this he got the recognition
and attention he desired, not directly from
what he did at the job but from some strange
Dowrich said it's overpowering and exciting
to be chosen for the shortlist, especially as
one of only two Caribbean authors, which
means he has a 50 per cent chance of being
chosen as the regional winner. The prize is
specifically for the best piece of unpublished
fiction in English. It is judged by an interna-
tional panel of writers, representing each of
the five regions of the Commonwealth: Africa,
Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean and
Chair of the judges, South African novelist
Gillian Slovo, said of this year's shortlist: "As
a novelist accustomed to the luxury of the
long form it has been a treat to discover writers
who manage to crystallise such different expe-
riences into so few words. The 26 stories we
have chosen for the shortlist are in turn comic,
touching, poetic, mysterious but always fresh
Dowrich taught at Presentation College,
San Fernando, from 1992--2000, Fyzabad
Anglican Secondary from 2000--2005 and
was the vice-principal at Trinity College East
from 2005--2007. He taught principles of
accounts, principles of business, management
of business, general paper and a few other
subjects. He recently resigned as principal of
Kenson School of Production Technology in
San Fernando in order to pursue this and other
He has been writing intermittently for years
and prefers humour.
"I write when I feel inspired, so there are
a lot of funny things that I try to write about,
and really that's it. While many of the books
and stories Caribbean authors win prizes for
tend to be more serious, I really relish humour.
It's a good feeling that people are reading and
finding humour, no matter where it comes
Dowrich said he grew up in a household
where everyone reads and talks a lot. "They
laugh at everyday things. There's a lot of mate-
rial out there and we still do talk a lot, my
family, and that's at the foundation of it all.
A story could come from anywhere."
He said that in true Trini fashion, he sent
in the story for consideration at almost the
"Every year, authors who have unpublished
works are invited to submit one story for the
competition. The story fit the word limit,
2,000 to 5,000 words, and I've always wanted
to do something with it, but I've really pro-
crastinated. I really enjoyed writing it and the
feedback anytime somebody read it was that
it was funny.
"So last year I really decided that it was
time to submit it and see what happened. The
deadline for entering the competition is
November 1 and I decided in 2015, on the
night of October 31, to submit it."
The story cannot be published in any form
until the regional winners are announced on
May 4, or it will no longer be eligible for the
competition. Dowrich said he plans on making
the story available in several forms, including
as an individual story, an audiobook and the
featured story in a collection.
He had some advice for people who want
to get their writing recognised or published,
or want to start writing in general. "The main
thing I'd tell them is to read. If they wish to
write, just read, read a lot, read everything.
Once they enjoy reading, just begin writing
maybe small pieces first and then try their
hand at big things.
"There are numerous opportunities now to
experience or to expose yourself, to expose
your writing, blogging and other avenues like
that, but the very first thing is for them to
read, just read."
T&T teacher shortlisted
for Commonwealth prize
While many of the books and stories
Caribbean authors win prizes for tend to
be more serious, I really relish humour.
needs support---Page B4
authors to visit
T&T for Bocas lit
artwork ---Page B38
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