LITERARY GEMS: “It’s very important for us to unearth and encourage great Jamaican writing at home. It’s very important that we acknowledge writing that is valuable and not just valuable in tangible ways,” says Jamaican Writers Society president and Lignum Vitae Awards chairman Tanya Batson-Savage, on the occasion of this year’s awards presentation, which took place at the National Gallery last Friday. The top award going – the Una Marson Prize for Adult Fiction (valued at $500,000) went to Garfield Ellis for his latest novel Land We Love. Helen Williams copped the Jean DaCosta Award for Children’s Literature (which comes with a $250,000) cash incentive) for her book Lost in the Cockpit Country. There was no winner of the Vic Reid Award for Young Adult Literature (also valued at $250,000), but Dionne Brown’s story collection, Seventeen Lashes, was singled out for special commendation. Presented every two years, the Lignum Vitae Awards were established to encourage Jamaican writers at home, at all stages of their careers, to produce original, high-quality and outstandingly creative work.
SHOW & TELL: Jamaica’s single largest art-lovers extravaganza, the Liguanea Art Festival, returns to its new home (the Liguanea Plaza) for its 13th staging and to reaffirm its place as “the artbeat of Jamaica” this Sunday, December 3. As in years past, the scores of patrons (shoppers, collectors, et al) are in for a world-class fine-art exhibition showcasing paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, photography and jewelry – and a host of art activities for the kids and the entire family. Among the dozens of artists and artisans (established and emerging talents) who will have works on view (and on sale!) are Laura Facey, Gene Pearson, Donnette Zacca, Charl Baker, Lennox Coke, Glynne Manley, Jermaine Morgan, Howard Moo-Young and Franz Marzouca. Visit liguaneaartfestival.com to see the complete list of names.