Jamaican writer Roland Watson-Grant is reaping more rewards for his work The Disappearance of Mumma Del.
The work, which won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize last year, has been shortlisted for yet another literary competition, ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award, which is based in the United Kingdom.
Watson-Grant told the Jamaica Observer that this latest accolade puts him in a great position, as he is the first Caribbean writer to be in the running for this prestigious literary award.
“I am honoured to say the least, but all of this is as planned. It is all about building a brand like I do in marketing and advertising and I had planned my literary year and this is just manifesting part of the plans. In order to be considered for this prize, your work must have been published in Granta [the literary magazine based in London] and I give thanks to winning the Commonwealth Prize. I was published there, so I am just thankful that all of this is coming together.”
Watson-Grant will be competing against five other works and the announcement of this year’s winner will be made at the end of May.
“This puts me at top six in the world...,” he noted.
In a previous interview with the Observer, the Musgrave Bronze Medal recipient described The Disappearance of Mumma Del as “the most disciplined story he has ever written”. Citing his commitment to create a strong, character-driven piece of literature, he noted that he received good energy about the story from his personal circle of beta readers drawn from the artistic community.
“I took their advice once they read the work and tightened the story where suggested. So I had a good feeling from the onset when I sent it to the Commonwealth committee. I also took this best masterclass advice: Don’t let your character be a punching bag for the story. Make sure everything revolves around that character,” he shared.
The Disappearance of Mumma Del chronicles the happenings after a matriarch’s funeral is derailed as her body has gone missing, creating panic and fear in a rural Jamaican district that is also on the verge of vanishing from the map.