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Allen Prize 2012 Winners Announced

Joshua Sammy Allen Prize Young Writer of the Year 2012

Winners of the second annual Allen Prize, dedicated to identifying and developing the talent of young writers in Trinidad and Tobago were announced on the final day of the NGC Bocas Literary Festival, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Expectant young writers and their families crowded into the AV room of the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago, Port Of Spain, for the announcement.

At the end of the brief ceremony which included readings from some of the 2011 winners, Joshua Sammy was named Young Writer of the Year. Sammy also earned the award for Senior Fiction Writer. Last year, Sammy had been shortlisted for the prize but lost out to Anabelle Castagne.

The Allen Prize awards in two categories (junior and senior) across four genres: creative non-fiction, prose fiction, drama and poetry. This year featured awards in only the Senior Prose Fiction and Poetry genres.  The evening’s second winner, Warren De Mills, earned the title of Senior Writer of the Year for poetry. Honourable mentions were however given to Reon Elder (Creative non-fiction) and Krystoff Kissoon and Renelle Wilson (Senior fiction).

Lisa-Allen Agostini, creator of the Allen Prize explained that the prize was created out of the need to recognize and develop writing talent from an early age. “The Allen Prize would like to increase the number of trained, committed young people who go into writing careers in Trinidad and Tobago,” she said. “These are our future Lovelaces, our future journalists and speechwriters.”

The writer of the year is awarded TT$2,500.00 while the Senior Writer of the year receives TT$1,000.00 and the Junior Writer of the year receives TT$500.00. The prize is open to writers 12 - 19 years old.

Appropriately, the announcement of the prize came just prior to readings by the shortlist for the OCM Bocas Prize, Loretta Collins Klobah (The Twelve Foot Neon Woman), Godfrey P. Smith (George Price: A Life Revealed) and Earl Lovelace (Is Just a Movie). The later reading provided the budding writers with wondrous examples of what they could be one day: celebrated crafters of the word.