The Guyana Prize for Literature is officially back

-boasts new youth category and millions in prizes


The Guyana Prize for literature is officially back!

Making good on his announcement in January, Charles Ramson Jr., Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport launched the Prize’s call for submissions on Tuesday at his Ministry.

Deadline for submissions is Friday, November 4, 2022 at midnight.

The remixed Prize has undergone some major changes.

The most notable are:

  • The Prize will be held annually instead of bi-annually
  • The Prize is only open to resident Guyanese
  • A Youth category has been introduced with sub-categories for male and female entrants
  • A Non-Fiction Category has been introduced
  • Winners of the open category will be awarded a publication grant
  • Workshops and training programmes are attached to the prize

Last awarded in 2015, Guyanese who resided overseas such as David Dabydeeen and Harold Bascom were among the awardees.

Al Creighton, one of the prize’s greatest advocates shared about the possibility of connecting a festival to the prize ceremony.

 “There is a literary festival which started a few years ago and is developing, so we are hoping that by the time of the awards of the prizes, that literary festival would have been expanded and will develop to the point where it is an important item on the literary calendar for the whole Caribbean.”

This possibility is in keeping with other modern coveted literary prizes such as Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago.

Many former Guyanese prize winners such as Martin Carter, Wilson Harris, Janice Shinebourne, Pauline Melville, Grace Nichols, John Agard, Mosa Telford and Prof. Paloma Mohamed, have gone on to gain international acclaim and/or become gardeners of the arts in Guyana.

Minister Ramson echoed this sentiment when he shared why he and President Ali worked to resuscitate the prize.  “Most of the people that are connected to writing and drama and poetry etc. don’t have a next stage, a progressive kind of opportunity for them to get their works published and for them to be recognised in Guyana for the work that they’re doing in this creative space and that’s why it’s important for (us) the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport…to give that progressive platform that allows them to get their works published and for them to be recognised.”

The Guyana Prize was established in 1987 by the late President Demond Hoyte. Like many other great literature prizes, the prize was created for the advancement of “good literature in the Caribbean in general and in Guyana in particular”.

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