Guyana Prize for Literature relaunched with newer categories, features

aims to promote Guyanese literature, culture 

The Guyana Prize for Literature was relaunched with newer categories, features, and prizes as the PPP/C Government aims to foster, improve, and share the rich Guyanese literature and talent locally and internationally.  

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Culture, Youth, and Sports Minister, Charles Ramson said that this year the Guyana Prize for Literature was revitalised to better share the Guyanese rich cultural heritage and way of life through the artform of story-telling and literature, in a progressive manner.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson, flanked by Director of Culture, Tamika Boatswain (right), and Andrew Tyndall, National Events Coordinator (left)

Minister Ramson highlighted the importance of this prize, which provides a broad platform to recognise and promote local literature.

Most of the people who are connected to writing, drama, and poetry etc….do not have a next stage and progressive kind of opportunity for them to get their works published and for them to be recognised in Guyana for the works that they are doing in this creative space”, he said.

The minister said the prize will be “the sporting platform where they can get their works published” and recognised throughout Guyana.

He said “this prize was very important for literary works for a long time,” nothing that nothing filled the void when it was scrapped by the A Partnership For Unity+ Alliance For Change Administration (APNU+AFC).

The minister related that the ministry along with President Dr Irfaan Ali worked towards getting the prize in order given its value to the Guyanese society.

He announced the changes and additions to the prize as he expressed optimism that this would serve to encourage the Guyanese interest in competing in the various categories.

First, this will be an annual prize, instead of one every two years. There is also a youth category that has been added. There is one qualifying area other than the age, which is that it’s open only to residents. We’ve also added in a male and female category for the youth prize.”

National Events Coordinator, Andrew Tyndall, disclosed that the initiative was further expanded to include a prize for non-fiction works and manuscripts.

“This year the prize will also be awarded a publication prize in every open category, which means that if you submit a manuscript, and it’s a willing submission, you will be funded for the publishing of that work,” he said.

Ruel Johnson, Cultural Policy Advisor

A Literary Festival is also in the works and aims to offer a distinctive and diverse platform that celebrates local literature.

Cultural Policy Advisor, Ruel Johnson noted that specific developmental aspects of the prize are currently in the works.

With world literacy day on the horizon, the launch of the prize comes at a crucial time for Guyana.

Back in January, Minister Ramson had announced that the Guyana Prize for Literature will officially return after five years.