Guyana Prize for Literature Festival to encourage, connect literary talents

Guyanese Author and co-organiser of the Guyana Prize for Literature Festival, Ruel Johnson said the event is a significant platform for seasoned and budding writers to gain exposure, connect and enhance the creative industry.

Speaking to the Department of Public Information (DPI), Johnson further shared insights into the 2024 festival, which kicked off on the 29th of February and is set to culminate on Sunday, the 3rd of March.

Guyanese Author, Ruel Johnson

“The Guyana prize festival is often a platform for greater things, it provides affirmation of literary talents particularly for emerging talents who might be unsure of whether they got it or not and if these highly regarded, very qualified judges say yes, your work is good that in itself is a critical boost for their moral.

so, the idea is to have the visitors connect to the literature that is being produced here by Guyanese” Johnson emphasised.

It is not just about accolades, it’s a spirited convergence of literary enthusiasts. It also features writing workshops conducted by renowned Guyanese writers as well as captivating presentations of Guyanese literature.

scenes from the Guyana Prize Exhibition of Guyanese Literature at the Castellani House

The festival also caters to an array of engaging activities for children such as writing training and face painting among others.

The centrepiece of the event is the Guyana Prize for Literary Awards, a prestigious ceremony geared at recognising the exemplary works of Guyanese in the categories of fiction, drama, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

Moreover, the festival has been extended to embrace youths, with awards in poetry and short story categories.

scenes from the Guyana Prize Exhibition of Guyanese Literature at the Castellani House

Johnson said the transition from a mere award ceremony to a comprehensive literary festival underscores the government’s broader vision of honouring exceptional writers, nurturing and connecting emerging talents with the wider Guyanese society.

In addition, Johnson hinted at future expansion plans for the festival.

“What we are going to look at is having bridging events in between prizes. You have writing workshops that we can push out to the region instead of having merely a centralised one-off event over the life of the Lit Fest.”

The event is entirely free of cost, thanks to the significant investment made by the government of Guyana.

The only exception is the play, which has a nominal fee attached. This fee not only supports the performers but also contributes to the growth of the creative industry.

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