Monday, 8 June 2015

CULTURE VULTURE: Enter the 2015 Lignum Vitae Writing Awards + Ivy League college honours Belafonte + Kingston to host Talking Trees 2016?

WINNING WORDS: Dream of becoming the next Olive Senior or Roger Mais? Move one step closer to realizing that dream by entering the 2015 Lignum Vitae Writing Awards, being presented by the Jamaican Writers Society, in partnership with Jamcopy. They are currently accepting previously unpublished manuscripts to compete for prizes in three key categories: The Una Marson Award for Adult Literature (Prize: $500,000) accepts novels, essay collections, short story collections and creative non-fiction entries of no less than 50,000 words; the Vic Reid Award for Young Adult Literature (age 13-18) accepts novels and short story collections of no less than 30,000 words. Prize - $250,000; and the Jean D'Acosta Award for Chilren's Literature (under 13 years) accepts novels and short story collections of no less than 15,000 words. Prize - $250,000. The competition is open to all Jamaican nationals at home or abroad and permanent residents of Jamaica. Entries must be sumbitted electronically before July 1 to For entry form and submission guidelines visit

THE MEASURE OF A MAN: As he triumphantly heads into his advancing years, the prestigious accolades keep rolling in for performing arts icon and social activist Harry Belafonte. On the heels of being awarded a Kennedy Centre honour and being honoured with the AmFar Gala in New York, Belafonte was last week conferred with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Princeton University during the Ivy League institution's annual graduation exercise and commencement ceremony, where five other luminaries were so honoured. "His integrity and courage inspire admiration and imitation, and his example strengthens our hope that the daybreak of justice, peace and equality may still come," noted Princeton's orator and trustee Randall Kennedy. A three-time winner at the Grammys (including the Lifetime Achievement Award), a 1954 Tony awardee and a 1959 Emmy recipient for the TV special Tonight with Harry Belafonte, Belafonte released the candid autobiography, My Song, in 2013 to critical acclaim and a documentary-feature adaptation courtesy of HBO.

SAME TIME NEXT YEAR: People are still talking about last month's ubersuccessful staging of the fourth annual Talking Trees Literary Fiesta, which drew culture lovers and members of the local literati in their numbers to Treasure Beach on May 23 for a swell day-long feast of readings, fellowship and southern hospitality. It was nothing short of memorable. That's why everyone is insisting, let's do it again next year. But with the highly anticipated return of the Calabash festival at Jake's, Talking Trees organizers are thinking of hosting a Kingston edition instead next year. "We don't want people to have to make two trips to Treasure Beach," explained Christine Marrett, proprietor of the Two Seasons Guest House (that hosts the annual fiesta), when TALLAWAH bumped into her in New Kingston last week. "So Talking Trees might be held here in Kingston for 2016. After the other team members and I get a chance to sit down and discuss the plans, we'll make an official announcement."

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