Writer, Editor, Stand-Up Comedian

Term II Seminar for The Allen Prize

Posted: April 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: The Allen Prize | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I’m tired but happy today because The Allen Prize for Young Writers’ Term II Seminar was held yesterday and it was a success. Tired=lots of planning work and running around, then hosting and stage managing yesterday with the help of lots of people–my brother Dennis, my daughters, Rhoda, Brian. Happy because (although our preregistration drive netted us more than 50 students the actual turnout was, once again, lower than expected) we had a small but keen audience.

Part of the audience.

The speakers were marvelous. Nicholas Laughlin talked about the possibilities of creative non-fiction.

Nicholas Laughlin at The Allen Prize Term II Seminar 2011

Monique Roffey spoke about her life as a writer, starting as a wall-scrawling toddler, up to her short listing for the Orange Prize in 2011.

Monique Roffey at The Allen Prize Term II Seminar 2011

And Muhammad Muwakil performed his spoken word magic before giving a talk on writing.

Muhammad Muwakil at The Allen Prize Term II Seminar 2011

Gillian Moor was our guest performer.

Gillian Moor at The Allen Prize Term II Seminar 2011

It was an exciting morning. Now on to the Awards Ceremony in May, and the next seminar–in Tobago!–in June.

The Allen Prize opens!

Posted: September 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Editorial | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

So after years of planning, praying, hoping and organising, The Allen Prize for Young Writers is finally open!

You can read about it and get submissions formsĀ here.

It has been a long haul and we still have far to go. We are still waiting for funding, and still in the process of planning our inaugural seminar. Two very impressive regional writers have already signed up to talk at the seminar–but you’ll have to wait for the official release to get more info on that.

We have lined up a great head judge of The Allen Prize competition in Judy Raymond. Judy was my editor for many years, at the Trinidad Express and the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian. In a way she has always been my role model, because I remember reading her hysterically funny column with my brother when I was a teenager and she always epitomised for me the best combination of witty, erudite and accessible writing. As an editor she was exacting, sometimes scarily so, and pushed me to being the best journalist I could be. In short, I am well chuffed that she has agreed to head the judges for the prize competition.

This whole experience has been very humbling and I’m grateful to Judy and all the other people who have contributed so far, and those who will contribute in the future. And as Judy said in the press release about the opening of the competition, I can’t wait to read the results!

Up next…

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Editorial | Tags: , , | No Comments »

I can’t believe it’s almost September. It’s been months since I started plotting the rollout of The Allen Prize for Young Writers and incredibly here it is! In September we open the first prize competition, and in October, all things being equal, we stage our first seminar.

We’ve been a busy little beaversĀ for the past few months, trying to put things in place for this. First was the writing of the strategic plan and getting it approved by the board. Then was the drafting of the competition submission guidelines and the seminar and workshop plans, done by the hardworking committees. Then we had to contact the Ministry of Education to get their endorsement. Then we had to write to different international agencies to get them to support the organisation with their money. We had to seek out corporate sponsors, too, and we had to meet with the associations and NGOS who work in literature and youth… it’s an ongoing process.

Now we’re in the process of planning the first seminar and the media launch, and starting the prize competition. Newsflash: We have judges!

I didn’t do all this by myself–madness to even try! My board, prize committee, finance committee, family and friends were all behind The Allen Prize, giving encouragement, advice and very practical support. One friend of mine is doing the Allen Prize web site. Another friend (a couple of friends, actually, and my brother) helps with artwork–artwork that’s going to be placed in a sponsored ad in The Student Press… And on, and on.

As the actual date of the competition and the seminar draws nearer, I hope the support continues. The Allen Prize for Young Writers will not work without it.