(TCW), an international, refereed literary journal published by the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences each year, has announced its prize winners for Volume 37 published in December 2023 under the theme: “Carrying: Recognition and Repair.”
Volume 37 boasts insightful and exciting poetry, short stories, personal essays, interviews and book reviews by established as well as emerging writers from within the Caribbean and its diaspora. TCW extends its abiding appreciation to its prize sponsors and recognizes the winners of the 2023 literary prizes.
The 2023 Vincent Cooper Literary Prize recipient is a prize-winning poet and fiction writer educator Althea Romeo Mark for her short story, “Saving Papa Rojas from the Deathbed Flirt.” Romeo-Mark is an Antiguan-born educator and internationally published writer who grew up on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. She has lived and taught in the Virgin Islands, USA, Liberia, England and Switzerland since 1991. She writes short stories and personal essays in addition to poetry and has been published in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, the USA, England, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Colombia, India, the U.K., Kenya, Liberia, Romania and Switzerland. Her last poetry collection, “The Nakedness of New,” was published in 2018.
The Vincent Cooper Literary Prize is awarded to a Caribbean author for exemplary writing in the Caribbean Nation Language (a term used by celebrated post-colonial Caribbean author Kamau Brathwaite to describe the vernacular language born in the Caribbean).
The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize goes to Mervyn R. Seivwright for his poem, “Senses I Recalled a Decade Ago.” Seivwright writes to balance social consciousness and poetry craft for humane growth. He is a nomad from a Jamaican family, who was born in London, England, left for America at age 10, and now resides in Schopp, Germany.
His performance poetry highlights include events in nine countries, with features at the Jazz Café and a finalist at the UK’s Word for Word National Poetry Slam. He completed a writing MFA at Spalding University and has appeared in numerous literary publications, receiving recognition as a 2021 Pushcart Nominee. He has a pending publication due in Autumn 2023. This prize is sponsored by Dasil Williams, wife of the late Marvin Williams, UVI professor, deceased editor of The Caribbean Writer.
The Daily News Prize for a U.S. Virgin Islands or the British Virgin Islands author goes to British Virgin Islands award-winning author, poet, fiction writer and educator Richard Georges for his short story “A Useful Skill.” This $600 prize to a prose or fiction writer is a longstanding prize sponsored for over two decades by The Virgin Islands Daily News.
The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for best short fiction goes to Tsahai Makeda for her short story “For Generations.” Makeda is a Jamaican American author, who earned her MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work appears in several publications. She is currently working on her debut collection of essays focusing on the dynamics and impact of relationships between fathers and daughters, specifically within the Black community.
This $500 prize is offered on behalf of the founder publisher of the St. Croix Avis. It has been offered for more than three decades by Rena Brodhurst, owner and publisher.
Unfortunately, this prize will be discontinued with this edition of TCW, since this decades-old newspaper closed its doors in January of 2024. The Brodhurst Prize was one of the first prizes awarded with the inaugural publication of TCW, which was first published in 1987. Writers in the Virgin Islands and the rest of the Caribbean diaspora will sorely miss the grand opportunity to vie for this prestigious prize.
Alexis Camarena is the versatile and skillful cover artist for this edition. Camarena is an emerging Virgin Islands artist who has carved out an impressive artistic space on the landscape of Virgin Islands art. Camarena graduated from the University of the Virgin Island with a degree in public administration.
Alscess Lewis-Brown continues in her role as editor-in-chief of this decade’s old publication. To maintain its high standards, the 2023 editorial board includes published authors and members of UVI’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences: professors Patricia Harkins-Pierre, Chenelle John-Heard and Anthazia Kadir. Also continuing on the board is Berkley Wendell Semple, an award-winning author from Guyana.
The newest board member is Alicia McKenzie, an award-winning author residing in France. McKenzie’s first collection of short stories, “Satellite City,” won the regional Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Canada and the Caribbean).
Her fifth book, “Sweetheart,” a novel, was the Caribbean regional winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize 2012. In 2020, her novel “A Million Aunties” was published in the Caribbean and North America, and it went on to be longlisted for the 2022 International Dublin Literary Award. Her stories have appeared in several anthologies and literary magazines.
Copies are $30 and are available at Undercover Books in Christiansted and The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in Frederiksted, My Girl Friends’ Closet on St. Croix and St. Thomas Best of Books (Antigua, W.I.), Novelty Trading Company (Jamaica, W.I.), Papaya Café’ and Book Store (St. John, VI) and both UVI bookstores. It can also be ordered on the TCW website and digitally on the website: www.thecaribbeanwriter.org or through PayPal.
For more information, contact the TCW offices by email at email@example.com.