GCCA+ Bocas Ways of Sunlight Youth Writing Competition

In partnership with the EU-funded Global Climate Change Alliance+

Update: the winners have been announced!

1st place: Samara Dolabaille
2nd place: Jada-Marie Giles
3rd place: Rebekkah Murray

Commemorating the 100th birthday of T&T’s iconic writer Sam Selvon (1923–1994), this writing competition for young people aged 12 to 18 was intended to simultaneously raise awareness of the Global Climate Change Alliance+ goals.

Entrants were invited to write and submit short creative essays exploring themes drawn from Selvon’s popular short story collection Ways of Sunlight. These themes include family and community, education and personal development, social and cultural change, migration, relations across boundaries of ethnicity and class, and personal and collective identity.

The competition judges chose first, second, and third-place winners, who will receive trophies along with cash awards of TT$6,000, $3,000, and $1,000 respectively.

 
 
 
 

The Bocas Lit Fest Ways of Sunlight Writing Competition is open to young writers born between 1 January, 2011, and 31 December, 2005, of Trinidad and Tobago birth or citizenship and living in Trinidad and Tobago.

All submissions must be made online via the form below. You must complete the online entry form and attach your essay as a PDF.

Submissions must be received by midnight on 14 September, 2023 (a deadline extension from 31 August).

Your submission should be an original non-fiction essay, up to 1,200 words in length. We are looking for pieces that explore contemporary life in Trinidad and Tobago through themes similar to the ones Sam Selvon wrote about in Ways of Sunlight, including family and community, education and personal development, social change, migration, relations across boundaries of ethnicity and class, and personal and collective identity.

It’s not strictly necessary, but reading some of Selvon’s stories may inspire you and help you better understand the themes!

No — although the competition is inspired by the book, we’re not asking you to write a book report or review, but rather an essay that responds to its themes.

Originality of ideas and insights; knowledge and understanding of topical issues facing T&T and the Caribbean; strong, clear prose; and an engagement with the themes explored in Sam Selvon’s fiction.

Each entrant can make only one submission.

No, there is no fee to submit your work.

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