The much-anticipated 2020 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize is open for submissions in the non-fiction genre. This is the second round of the pan-Caribbean developmental award for emerging writers.
The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize, managed by The Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago and Arvon in the UK, is an annual award that allows an emerging Caribbean writer living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean to devote time to advancing or finishing a literary work with support from an established writer as mentor.
The prize is offered across three literary genres over a three-year period. The current 2020 round is for non-fiction. The fiction winner, Sharma Taylor of Jamaica, was announced earlier in 2019 at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival. In 2021, the prize will accept poetry entries.
The Prize consists of a generous cash award, a year’s mentorship, travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive Arvon creative writing course at one of Arvon’s internationally renowned writing houses and three days in London, which includes being featured at an event hosted by Arvon in association with the Free Word Centre. The opportunity also exists to be agented by a leading London literary agency.
Philanthropist Dr. Kongsheik Achong Low, sponsor of the prize, is a medical practitioner and Chairman of Medcorp Limited. The prize is named for his parents and commemorates their lives as hardworking citizens whose children have continued to contribute to the building of Trinidad and Tobago.
“It is a rare case of personal philanthropy for which we are all very grateful”, said Marina Salandy-Brown, founder of the prize. “Talent is not everything, it has to be honed, and this prize provides a unique opportunity to help future noteworthy writers develop their potential.”
The 2020 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize
Eligibility and entry guidelines
The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize is an annual award which allows an emerging Caribbean writer living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean
to devote time to advancing or finishing a literary work, with support from an established writer as mentor. The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize is sponsored by philanthropist Dr. Kongshiek Achong Low and administered by The Bocas Lit Fest and the literary charitable trust, Arvon. In its second year, 2020, The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize will be awarded for a literary non-fiction work in progress.
See Appendix 1 for a definition of literary non-fiction for the purposes of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize.
The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize consists of:
1. A cash award of $20,000TT (or the equivalent in US dollars);
2. A year’s mentoring by an established writer;
3. Travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive Arvon creative writing course at one of Arvon’s internationally renowned writing houses;
4. A three-day stay in London during which Arvon, in association with the Free Word Centre, will host an event that features the winner of the Johnson and Amoy
Achong Caribbean Writers Prize;
5. Rogers, Coleridge & White, the London literary agency, has the option to agent the winning writer if they choose to do so. The writer is free to pursue other agents if RCW does not exercise the option. The winner of the 2020 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize will be announced during the 2020 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.
To be eligible for entry, a writer must:
1. Be of Caribbean birth or citizenship, living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean and writing in English;
2. Be over the age of 18 by 30 September, 2019
3. Not have previously published a book-length work in the genre in which they are making a submission (non-fiction). For the purposes of this prize, self-published books do not count as ‘previously published’, and authors who have self-published in the non-fiction genre may still submit work-in-progress to the prize.
See Appendix 2 for a list of eligible territories for the purposes of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize.
Each entrant may make only one submission for the 2020 Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize. Each submission must include:
1. A maximum of 3,000 words from a work in progress which the Prize will allow the
writer to advance or complete;
2. An outline of the entire work in progress and how the writer plans to develop it
3. A statement of no more than 500 words about why your work should be supported by this Prize;
4. A copy of two pieces of previously published creative writing in any genre (not exceeding 2,000 words each). One extract from a longer work is acceptable. State the date and place of publication and the name of the publisher of each piece.
Note: extracts from personal blogs or self-published work will not be accepted as samples of previously published writing. Transcripts of publicly performed writing (e.g. work read at a curated festival or public show) will be accepted. In the case of performance work, state the date and name of the event/ place of reading;
5. A completed entry form.
Note: All submissions should be typed in a basic font, 12 point, black, with double spacing. Submissions must be submitted as .doc or .pdf files. Please ensure that submissions are carefully proofread and formatting is complete. Submissions must be made electronically. Please send all submission materials attached in separate documents in a single email addressed to email@example.com. The email subject line should read “Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize”.
• The 2020 Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize opens for entries on 15 July 2019. The closing date is 30 September 2019, at 6:00 pm TT time. No late entries will be accepted.
• The Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize will be judged by a panel comprising representatives of the Achong family and Arvon, an agent from the Rogers, Coleridge & White literary agency, and up to two representatives of the Bocas Lit Fest.
• For any queries about eligibility requirements or the submission process, please contact the prize administrators at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Definition of literary non-fiction
Literary non-fiction refers to works of creative prose based on fact. It is a broad genre including (but not limited to) biography and memoir, travel writing, history and current affairs, and essays on diverse topics. For the purposes of the 2020 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize, the following types of writing are NOT eligible: school texts, reference works (such as dictionaries or encyclopedias), how-to books, primarily pictorial texts, and technical or specialist texts not intended for a general audience. Examples of literary non-fiction by Caribbean authors include:
• Beyond a Boundary, by C.L.R. James
• The Middle Passage, by V.S. Naipaul
• The Loss of El Dorado, by V.S. Naipaul
• The Pleasures of Exile, by George Lamming
• Georgetown Journal, by Andrew Salkey
• Small Island, by Jamaica Kincaid
• From Harvey River, by Lorna Goodison
• Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Adventure, by Gaiutra Bahadur
• Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, by Edwidge Danticat (past winner of the
OCM Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction)
• George Price: A Life Revealed, by Godfrey P. Smith (past winner of the OCM Bocas Prize
• The Sky’s Wild Noise: Selected Essays, by Rupert Roopnaraine (past winner of the OCM
Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction)
• Writing Down the Vision: Essays and Prophecies, by Kei Miller (past winner of the OCM
Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction)
• High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture, by Kevin Adonis Browne (past
winner of the OCM Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction)
Definition of the Caribbean
For the purposes of the Prize, the Anglophone Caribbean is defined as including the following countries
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos
US Virgin Islands
Enquiries about the call for submissions should be directed to email@example.com, please always refer to their website for complete details and information.
Please note, this competition is run by Bocas Lit Fest, not Commonwealth Writers.