THE Jubilee Creative Writing Competition welcomed entries from local writers in the categories of Prose, Poetry and Drama. Among the entries received, three winners were chosen from each category. Emerging from this competition are eight talented writers whose work were deemed the best of the lot. Some of them you may have heard of, others are now making their mark, but above all, these young people have lauded the exposure provided through the writing competition and express hopes that the venture will give rise to more frequent platforms that will give local writers a chance to have their voices heard.
This week, we continue with profile features of the winners of the competition.
Cindya Khellawan, 20
Cindya won second place in the Poetry category for her piece “Guyanese Country Life” and is extremely happy about it, as it is her first time entering a competition. After finding out about the competition on the Jubilee website, the 20 year old decided to submit one of her pieces. “Poetry has always fascinated me and many times I would explore by writing poems which never really went out of my friendship circle…[after I heard about the competition] there and then I said to myself, ‘Aha! I’m going to give this a shot’,” she said. Cindiya figured that this would be a great way to share her work with new readers while participating in a memorable event for Guyana’s 50th Independence.
Asked about the inspiration for her chosen piece, Cindiya said that growing up in the country and observing the way of life there inspired her to write that piece. “I’m also in love with the Creole dialect and I believe it is one of the best accessories of country life. I’m proud of where I came from and so I decided to put together a piece embracing country life in Guyana,” she said. Now that the competition is behind her, Cindiya wishes that there would be some creative mentoring programmes that could help to raise the standard of local writing and which could also assist writers in getting their work published.
Nirmala Narine, 28
While her name is perhaps most associated with theatre, this actress is also a writer, and has been writing poetry and short stories for quite some time. After hearing about the competition through the National Drama Company- of which she is a member- Nirmala submitted her short story “The Dare” which resulted in her winning second place in the Short Story category. The story follows a young boy who died while performing a dare in a grave yard and wasn’t aware of the fact that he was dead until he witnessed his friends visiting his grave. Nirmala admits that like this piece, many of her pieces follow a similarly dark theme but that she was excited to be chosen as one of the winners especially since this is the first competition she has ever entered.
Hers is another name that will ring a bell due to her years in the theatre industry. It is no wonder that this actress and writer’s one act play “Mummy” – which itself has won awards in previous drama festivals- won second place in the Drama category. Sonia heard about the competition one day before the deadline, and after making some quick tweaks, submitted a few of her plays for consideration. “Mummy” explores sexual abuse that occurs through the generations and Sonia said that in writing the play back in 2014, her aim was to portray this societal ill and the effects of it. “I wanted to highlight that it has been happening in families and sometimes even the mothers have the knowledge of it. They go through it and see their daughters go through it and their daughters’ daughters and don’t do anything,” Sonia said. Placing among the winners of this competition puts yet another feather in her cap, Sonia added, as she has won a number of other awards herself. “I feel like I’m at the height of my career, plus this is the Jubilee so it feels great,” she said.
Next week, we will feature the final group of winners of the Jubilee Writing competition and their thoughts about their work the local writing industry.