A whole heap of kindness

A whole heap of kindness

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

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LECTURER and dramaturge Dr Brian Heap, winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize competition for the Caribbean region, has allocated part of his prize money to the establishment of two contests — a playwriting competition and a short story competition for students of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus.

Heap said that currently, theatre practitioners and other creative artists in Jamaica are facing a bleak situation as most of the entertainment industry has been brought to a standstill by the current COVID-19 restrictions. He said cinemas, theatres, dance companies, concerts and performance festivals have all been affected, and artists have been scrambling to find alternative creative outlets since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Against this background, during the months of November and December students will have the opportunity to express their creativity, as well as win cash prizes for their work.

“The prize money from the Regional Award in the Commonwealth Short Story Prize competition meant that I was in a better position to pass on some of my good fortune to others, and what better way than by encouraging more new writers to come forward?” said Heap.

“My own involvement in Jamaican theatre means that I am always interested in finding new works for the stage, which is why we ended up with two competitions — one for short stories and one for short plays,” he continued.

Each competition will have cash prizes for the first, second and third awardees in each category.

Interested students have until November 13 to express their interest in entering the competitions. The closing date for the submission of entries is December 20. Further details on the competition are available at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts, located at UWI, Mona.

It is also being proposed that the winning submissions from each contest be recorded and uploaded to the Internet as podcasts. So now, Heap is actively seeking further funding to make this a reality. If successful, the works of the three prize winners, along with three highly commended runners-up from each competition, will be recorded and uploaded onto a widely accessible platform such as YouTube.

In June 2020 Dr Heap was named the Caribbean Regional Winner of the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize competition.

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