Bay, St. Martin - In less than one month in 2011, it appears
that an unprecedented number of literary prizes were awarded to major Caribbean
writers in their own region.
On May 6, the distinguished author George Lamming was
awarded the Caribbean Hibiscus Prize in Cuba, said his HNP publisher here on
Monday, May 9.
The Association of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) awarded
Lamming the prize, which “acknowledges the lifetime’s work of Caribbean
writers, artists and groups,” said HNP publisher Lasana M. Sekou.
The Barbadian writer “expressed his appreciation for the
honors received in Cuba, because the concept of culture on the island is not
decorative like in most countries of the region, since Cubans believe that
culture is a weapon to defend the Revolution,” reported ACN news service.
In addition to its regional significance, UNEAC president
Miguel Barnet said the prize aims at spreading more awareness about Cuban
culture and the institution’s work. During
the award ceremony, Cuban poet Nancy Morejon pointed out that the Hibiscus
Prize is named after a flower common to Caribbean nations, and that “Lamming
was selected to receive this first edition of the prize because when you read
his works you can understand Nature and the regional spirit better,” reported
RCA radio (FM 105.3). Culture Minister Abel Prieto attended the ceremony, held
at the UNEAC.
Long hailed as one of the “adamic
fathers” of Caribbean Literature, Lamming’s newest book of essays,
of the Imagination, was
published in St. Martin by HNP, said Sekou.
Sovereignty and Lamming’s
Education & The Caribbean Intellectual, also from HNP, are available at Van
Dorp and other bookstores and libraries in the region, www.amazon.com and other online stores.
On April 29, it was the Nobel Laureate Derek
Walcott who was honored. The acclaimed St. Lucian author, whose mother’s family
hails from St. Martin, received the first edition of the OCM Bocas Prize in
White Egrets, his latest poetry collection. The volume has
already won the prestigious TS Eliot Prize.
The Bocas Prize to Walcott included an
award of US$10,000. Tiphanie Yanique won the Bocas Fiction category for her
How To Escape From a Leper Colony. The much-celebrated
Edwidge Danticat won the Non-Fiction category.
In a year with what appears to be an
unprecedented appearance of literary prizes with regional projection,
Guadeloupe took center stage from April 6 - 9, with its 2nd
International Congress of Caribbean Writers.
The first edition of the congress’s Grand
Prize of Caribbean Literature went to the Trinidadian Earl Lovelace for his new
Is Just a Movie. The prize included a financial award of Euros 10,000, probably
the highest monetary prize for literature in the region to date.
The oldest and most prestigious award for
literature in the region remains the Casa de Las Americas prize.