Awards honor Cayman writers

Continued interest in Caymanian literature encouraged

Award winners Catherine Tyson, Debbie Webb-Sibblies, Janet Dash-Harris and Douglas Schofield pose at Saturday’s ceremony.

Local writers were honored Saturday during the second annual Cayman Literary Awards at the George Town Public Library.

The awards recognized 13 authors who had submitted their works to a panel of judges.

Douglas Schofield won first-place for his mystery novel, “Storm Rising.” Mr. Schofield expressed surprise at winning and reflected on lessons learned during the editing process and his choice to focus on female protagonists throughout his works.

Janet Dash Harris won the second-place award for “Frankly Speaking.” The compilation of stories was developed through chats in a WhatsApp group and adapted for print.

Third place was shared by Deborah Webb-Sibblies for her book “Living my Second Chance with a Grateful Heart,” and Catherine Tyson for her book “I’m Somebody’s Mama.”

Ms. Webb-Sibblies reflected on the courage and wisdom necessary to put personal stories down on paper, and how the writing process helped her recover from trauma.

Ms. Tyson said her work sought to capture the voice of single mothers and reflects her experience of raising three children in the United States and Cayman.

Two authors were awarded special recognition: Natalie Urquhart for her compilation, “Art of the Cayman Islands” and Tricia Sybersma for “Summer’s Garden: Gratitude in Nature.”

Former first-prize winner Kathleen Bodden-Harris traveled from Cayman Brac to participate in the awards ceremony. She discussed how she developed her children’s book, “Quest on the Marl Road,” and how winning the 2016 award helped her add color artwork to the work.

Presenter Stephanie Fullerton-Cooper of the University College of the Cayman Islands encouraged continued interest in reading Caymanian literature.

“If you want to know about a nation, you would want to read what that nation has produced. Not only that but those who are nation readers get to see themselves reflected in the work,” she said.

“If this is indeed what Cayman is producing and Cayman is examining itself through the eyes of its literature, then Cayman will see it has a wonderful set of talented people. We’ll also see that the growth and development of this particular talent should be encouraged.”

Submissions for the 2018 awards will open in July. Books written between 2009 and 2017 are eligible to be entered. The awards committee can be contacted at [email protected]

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