Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 2nd 2013 Contents B4
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 2, 2013
In some ways, getting published is more dif-
ficult for children s book writers. And over
the past few years one powerful Briton may
have made things even harder. His name is Harry
"The market trend right now for young adults
is sci-fi and fantasy," said Marsha Gomes-Mckie,
head of the Caribbean South chapter of the Society
for Children s Books Writers and Illustrators
(SCBWI). "It s not so much that they want to be
reading poetry books."
Publishing opportunities for West Indian chil-
dren s fiction have shrunk within recent years, but
Gomes-Mckie, who writes e-books for young chil-
dren, believes that with good writing and more
market savvy from authors they will open up again.
"At the end of the day, it is a business, and if
a publisher publishes a few Caribbean books and
they find they haven t made a lot of money they
wouldn t come back," she said. "I think with the
right story, publishers will be interested. I tell a
lot of people if you can write science fiction try
that. Our local folklore is high fantasy, but you
don t have a lot of our local writers writing to
SCBWI is doing what it can to boost the regional
industry by providing authors with networking
opportunities, market survey results, and infor-
mation on how to get published.
Recently, help came in the form of an announce-
ment that for the first time prizes will be offered
for the best published works of young adult lit-
erature in the region.
The Canadian Burt Award for young adult lit-
erature had previously been given to writers from
Africa and indigenous communities in Canada.
Starting in 2014, a Caribbean author will receive
the annual award, which brings considerable cash
and prestige. The award is being offered in con-
junction with the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, which hands
out three other awards for writing and publishing
in the Caribbean.
Marina Salandy-Brown, festival director and
founder, said she hopes to see more children s
writers at the event next year.
"The Burt Award is important because children s
writing is going on, but it s overlooked," she said.
"There are people doing wonderful things all over
the place, but prizes bring a focus---and financial
"It s good that they have an award concentrating
on children," said Gomes-Mckie. "I hope it encour-
ages more people to come out and write."
SCBWI is helping the process along by issuing
what Gomes-Mckie calls a "manuscript challenge"
to young adult writers. In order for a book to
qualify for the Burt Award it must be published
between August 1, 2011, and August 22, 2013.
Through a Facebook group for Caribbean
authors, SCBWI is encouraging writers to produce
and publish a book by that deadline.
"We have a system where we say in June and
July we ll write 500 words per day," said Gomes-
Keeping in touch online, members of the group
push each other to meet the daily quota.
Gomes-Mckie said while the Burt Award is the
catalyst for the exercise, its success won t be deter-
mined by whether participants win.
"It s really to give the writers confidence to
actually start to write more. Even if you don t win
the award, you actually have a manuscript to send
to a publisher," she said.
The Caribbean South chapter of SCBWI has
about 20 members. But there are a lot more people
writing children s books in the region, said Gomes-
The prizes for the Burt Award are Can$10,000,
$7,000 and $5,000 for the first, second and third
places, respectively. Three thousand copies of the
winning books will also be purchased from the
All these opportunities are good, said Gomes-
Mckie, but there s something even more important
to be gained if the prize eventually leads to the
production of more children s books from
Caribbean authors: young people s increased sense
"They will see themselves in a book," said
Gomes-Mckie. "(And they ll say,) We re seeing
ourselves in print. We re important. "
( wo o o o
w ), BC o w , o o ,
o x o .
o o , BC o o
w , o o
o o .
, BC o
w o o o :
• o o
ow o o o , o
o w ,
o , o
• A o
o o ,
w o o o o
• A ow-
o o o o
/o o o
o woo o
Bo woo o .
BC o o ow
• o w o
o , w
o ow o .
o o .
BC o o o o
o o o
o , o o .
, o w
o , BC o w
o o o o
, o o ,
o o -
w o x
o o (
o o o o o , w BC
o B ).
o w , o
o o , o , o o - o ,
o x o o w
ow o o . (BC o
o , o , w
o , w
o o o .)
o o , BC
o w o ow :
wo o w o o
w o o o
( o o
• o o w
o o woo
o , w , Bo woo
o woo o o , w
o oo o
o BC o
o o , -C
, A o w ,
• o o o
w o o
• o o o o
o w o o o
• C BC-o -
o w o o
• A o
o o : BC o
o o o
o o o w , o
o o o o w
o , o o
o - o , o
o o o ,
w , o
• , BC o w
oo o o
o o ,
o ow o ow w - -
w o 50 o w
o o A
x o ....
A Trifecta of the Week's Best Films on the Box
o o o
This column explains why Sideways, in photo, gets the nod over a Jet Li kick-up in
BC on TV.
A shot in the arm
for Caribbean young
adult book writers
The Burt Award is
children's writing is
going on, but it's
There are people doing
wonderful things all
over the place, but
prizes bring a focus---
and financial reward.
C Bo o ,
Links Archive June 1st 2013 June 3rd 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page