Jamaica Creative Writing

Jamaica Creative Writing Competition and Exhibition

Amateur and professional writers are encouraged to sharpen their writing skills in Standard English or Jamaican Dialect in the Jamaica Creative Writing Competition and Exhibition. All entrants are required to reflect Jamaican situations and experiences in their content. Writers can submit their creative works in:

  • Poetry
  • Short Stories
  • Novels
  • Essays
  • Plays

The Competition is open to writers of all ages of Jamaican nationality and to persons resident in Jamaica for at least two years.

Special prizes are awarded by the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs to entrants that have dealt adequately with topical issues of interest to the entities; for example, HIV/AIDS Issues – BNS, Human Trafficking-Bureau of Women’s Affairs and P.A.T.H.

Prizewinning entries are exhibited annually throughout the island, following the Awards Ceremony that is held in November. The public may view the Exhibition at the Jamaica Library Service Parish Libraries and the National Library for approximately two (2) weeks each.

Professor of English capturing the Jamaican Literary expressions from 1963, the JCDC’s Literary Arts program and more currently under the banner Jamaica Creative Writing Competition and Exhibition has impacted the writing standards for decades. Not only has the program exposed the more renowned Jamaican writers but have kept open doors of creativity to the widest possible entry base from the sophisticated writers to novices in Jamaica who by virtue of raw skill, in a range, often strikes a medal or an honorable mention.
ish Mervyn Morris and the late Trevor Rhone are two participants of the many stalwarts of the Literary arts /creative writing programme albeit prof. Morris carried on his association as adjudicator of poetry for numerous years.

Most noteworthy Jamaican writers have had connection with and benefitted from the competition. Not small among the writers who were featured in the first publication “Festival Literary Anthology” are writers now well known like Olive Senior, Micheal Reckord, Diane Brown and the late Dennis Scott.

The JCDC’s new gold short story anthology features a cadre of more current writers and their works speak eloquently about the skills and talents being showcased here.

The emphasis is on Jamaican expression. It is therefore expected that Jamaican situations and experiences are manipulated in the creation of entries for this competition.

Prizewinning entries in the Literary Arts Competition are exhibited annually during the month of September. In earlier years, entries receiving medals were published in the Jamaican Journal. A milestone for the Commission was achieved with the launch of their first publication, "Debonair the Donkey" written by Diane Brown in 1986. This is a children's story, which was awarded a gold medal in 1985. The next major achievement (in 1987) was the launch of the Literary Anthology, which includes selections of award-winning short stories covering a period of twenty-five (25) years. This publication was sponsored by Shell Company West Indies Limited.

In 1988, for the first time winning literary entries were published in the Speech Anthology, and since then each succeeding year's publication have included some winning pieces.

Additional information, including how to collect syllabi and entry forms may be obtained from the JCDC's offices islandwide.