Ghana Book Trust to hold awards for young adult writers

Accra, The Ghana Book Trust (GBT) will hold the 2017 edition of the Canadian Organisation for Development through Education (CODE) Burt Award for African Young Adult writers in Accra from July 24 to 26.

The award is an English Language, multi-country prize supported by smaller national prizes that determine the works eligible for the grand prize.

Mrs Genevieve Eba-Polley, the Executive Director of GBT, said the national prizes included CODE’s Burt Award for Ghanaian, Ethiopian, Kenyan and Tanzanian Young Adult Literature.

She said the objective of the award was to provide African youth with access to high quality, culturally relevant reading materials.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday in Accra, Mrs Eba-Polley said specific objectives of the programme were to recognize excellence in young adult literature and to support and motivate the development of reading materials for students aged 12 to 18, a critical stage of learning.

Others are to foster a love for reading and learning, strengthen the English Language skills of the youth, support local publishing industries and increase the stock of English books in schools and libraries.

Sponsored by CODE and William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation, the Burt Award addresses an ongoing shortage of relevant, quality books for young people while promoting a love for reading and learning at the upper primary and secondary school levels.

Launched in Tanzania in 2008, it has since expanded to Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada and the Caribbean.

Mrs Eba-Polley said as part of the requirements, eligible publishers were to submit entries to CODE’s local implementing partners in each participating country including GBT; CODE-Ethiopia; National Book Development Council of Kenya; and Children’s Book Project for Tanzania.

She said each local jury would select a shortlist of up to five titles, with one declared the national winner; declaring that the winning author would receive a prize of $1,000 Canadian dollars.

She said the publisher of the winning title would be awarded a guaranteed purchase of 3,000 copies by CODE to be donated to schools, libraries, community centres and NGOs in its country of origin.

Mrs Eba-Polley noted that all finalists shortlisted for each national competition would be eligible to move forward to the grand prize.

She said in total, up to 20 finalists from each country might be considered for the grand prize based on a shortlist of up to five titles from each of the four participating countries.

She noted that only finalists for the national competitions were eligible for the grand prize.

She said the grand prize jury would select a shortlist of up to five finalists; adding that one title will be named the grand prize winner, its author to receive a prize of $10,000 Canadian dollars.

Mrs Eba-Polley said a second title would be named an honour book, its author to receive a prize of 2,000 Canadian dollars whereas the remaining finalists would each receive 1,000 Canadian dollars.

Mrs Eba-Polley said the decision on who won the grand prize at the Africa Regional level would be announced in October.

She said the publishers of the grand prize winner and grand prize honour book would each receive a grant of 2,000 Canadian dollars to support the promotion of their Burt Award titles.

She said to gain eligibility for works published outside of the participating countries, rights might be licensed to an eligible publisher.

She said a writers’ workshop would also be held as part of the programme and the facilitators would include Jacqueline Guest, a popular Canadian author who had 18 children and young adult books to her credit.

Source: Ghana News Agency