In keeping with our mandate of giving a voice to the voiceless, we recently launched our “Ghetto Stories” short story competition. The competition, launched during the Kingston Book Fair earlier this month, was conceptualised out of the realisation that there are many within our society who have a story to tell but simply do not possess the means to do so. To this end, the competition was launched as part of our commitment to granting certain privileges to the underprivileged, privileges that we believe should not be restricted. These include not just the freedom to express oneself but also the ability to do so effectively.
The competition is open to Jamaicans (residing in Jamaica and in the Diaspora) who have a story to tell that holds some element of a ghetto experience. When questioned about the competition, publishing manager Anna Edwards had this to say. “We want to know what the word “Ghetto” means to the individual so we are not so much concerned with a traditional definition of the word as we are with finding stories that offer an unconventional exploration of the word. For example, whilst by definition, the ghetto is a physical place, to the creative writer it can take on a whole new meaning, perhaps a state of mind or a way of being.”
The competition entries will be judged in two categories:
Young Adult/Teen (ages 12-17)
Adult (persons 18 and older)
Winning entries, to be selected by a panel of judges, will be published in an anthology with the winners receiving a cash prize along with a copy of the anthology. Through the promotion of the anthology it is our hope that the winners will get a sense that they matter and their stories matter. It is also our hope that the competition will spark an interest in publishing and writing as a career path for young adults leaving high school or university.
In closing, Ms. Edwards had this advice for writers looking to enter the competition. “Ultimately, what is most important to us is the element of inspiration. People draw inspiration from the triumph of others over a bad situation, and that is what we hope to celebrate with this collection.”