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Jamaica Creative Writing

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Jamaican Novelists, Short Story Writers, Essayists, Playwrights and Poets for many years have recognized the Jamaica Creative Writing Competition and Exhibition, organized by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission since 1963 as one of the best channels for recognizing writing talent, validating their talent, showcasing and promoting writers and their original works.

Professor Mervyn Morris, Dennis Scott, Olive Senior, Trevor Rhone, Hazel Campbell, Diane Browne, Michael Reckord, Michael Bailey are some of the names recognized in the field who have benefited from the exposure gained through this competition.  Each year a new crop of writers are unearthed. They more often than not, go on to blaze their successful paths on the local & international literary arts scene. 

Many of the works are of long lasting quality and some have even been able to make their way from the page to the screen. Over 400 new scripts are entered into the competition annually.

The Competition

Each year writers of all ages are invited to submit works in a number of categories which includes: novels, essays, plays, poetry and short stories. These are required to be submitted in both printed and electronic formats.


An awards ceremony is held annually where the writers, members of the media and the general public are invited to find out how the submitted works faired.  A highlight of the ceremony are the ‘readings’ offered by selected awardees who bring their works to life with creative vocal delivery.

Exceptional Writers are recognized each year and writers compete for the titles ‘Special Writer’, ‘Outstanding Writer’ and the most prestigious title of ‘Best Overall Writer’.  In any given year special awardees walk away with sponsored cash prizes and other incentives.

Additionally, The JCDC makes an effort to assist writers in getting their works published through a variety of avenues including local newspapers and the Speech Anthologies produced by the commission. Emphasis is also placed on ensuring that the writers are fully aware of the applicable copyright methods and laws for protecting and establishing ownership of their works.

The Gold Anthology

In 2013, there is a landmark achievement in that the gold anthology of selected gold awarded short stories between 1999 and 2006, will be unveiled and made available for sale as at our November 5, 2013 awards ceremony. There are plans afoot to launch in the Diaspora to embrace the best scope and plans apace for an “e-book” version. Our aim remains to make the award winning original works available to the public by periodic publication.

Exhibition and Tour

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission along with the National Library of Jamaica and the Jamaica Library Service ensure that the winning works in the Jamaica creative writing competition are showcased in each parish there by affording the awardees maximized exposure across the island. The Creative Writing unit JCDC enjoy a long, rich association with the Libraries who themselves attest to the need for new and original works to be showcased island wide annually.

Developmental Workshops

this unit executes the annual Jamaica Creative Writing Competition; this is also accompanied by the requisite workshops and seminars which culminate with an awards ceremony for the writers.