Renowned writer David Dabydeen and leading playwright Harold Bascom were the top awardees in drama and fiction as the winners of the Guyana Prize for Literature and the Guyana Prize Caribbean 2014 Awards, which were announced last night at the Pegasus International Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana.
Bascom was awarded the Guyana Prize and the Guyana Caribbean Prize in the Best Book of Drama category for his play ‘Desperate for Relevance’, ahead of Montserrat playwright David Edgecombe, whose play ‘Lady of Parham’, was also shortlisted for the Guyana Caribbean Prize. The Caribbean Award is open to works written by citizens of the CARICOM states, the Commonwealth Caribbean and the Netherland Antilles.
Bascom, who lives overseas and did not attend, is now a four-time Guyana Prize winner in the Best Drama category. “To have won the Guyana Prize for Literature for the fourth time, is very pleasing; to have won the Caribbean Award for the first time, however, is a very crowning moment for me a Guyanese writer continuing to struggle for recognition,” Bascom stated in the acceptance speech that was read in his absence.
The playwright also paid homage to “the creative community of Guyana and the wider Caribbean” from which he drew the inspiration for his drama, ‘Desperate for Relevance; A Surreal Drama of Dead Caribbean Writers Bound in a Curious Hereafter’.
The judges once again awarded the Best Book of Fiction award to Guyanese writer David Dabydeen, for his novel, Johnsons Dictionary, making him a now five-time winner of the coveted Guyana Prize.
Other winners included Subraj Singh, for Best First Book of Fiction (Rebelle and other Stories); Stanley Niamatali, for Best first Book of poetry, (The Hinterlands) and Maggie Harris for Best Book of Poetry, (Sixty Years of Loving).
Subraj Singh, 23 is the second youngest writer, behind Ruel Johnson, to win the First Fiction prize.
Aside from Bascom, other winners of the Caribbean Awards are, Edward Baugh of Jamaica for Best Book of Poetry (Black sand) and Barbara Jenkins, Best Book of Fiction, (Sic Transit Wagon).
In attendance at the ceremony were Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Prime Minister, Moses Nagamatoo and former Minister of Culture, Frank Anthony.