Competition for young poets

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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The country's young poets are being invited to submit entries for the newly established Poet Laureate of Jamaica and Helen Zell Young Writers' Prize for Poetry.

The programme, which is a collaborative initiative of the National Library of Jamaica through the office of the Poet Laureate of Jamaica and the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Programme, seeks to recognise talented young Jamaicans with an interest in pursuing a career in poetry.

The winner will receive a cash prize of US$1,000 as well as the opportunity to participate in the award ceremony to be held in Kingston on World Poetry Day, March 21, 2018.

Culture Minister Olivia Grange, who officially opened the programme during the launch of Legal Deposit Month on October 11 at the National Library in downtown Kingston, endorsed the initiative, which she said will assist in preserving Jamaica's rich cultural heritage.

Listing several award-winning Jamaican authors and poets, among them poets laureate Professor Mervyn Morris and Lorna Goodison, Grange encouraged the younger generation of cultural artisans to participate in the competition as a first step in making their mark in the annals of Jamaica's cultural heritage.

“It is our hope that through this platform, a new generation of Jamaican poets will rise up to pen their own contributions to our sterling literary heritage. Indeed, you should have no shortage of inspiration. Now is your time to make your mark,” she said.

Deadline for submissions is December 15, 2017. The winner will be announced in February 2018.

Information on entry requirements and application forms are available through contact with the National Library of Jamaica at: or by visiting

Lorna Goodison, who is Poet Laureate of Jamaica for the period 2017 to 2020 will be visiting several secondary and tertiary institutions across the island to promote the programme.




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