Sunday, February 12, 2012

JCDC Creative Writing Exhibition Tour 2011/12

Of all the festival competitions run by the JCDC, the Creative Writing Contest gets the least publicity. This is hardly surprising, as the written word does not generate the kind of excitement that music, dance and culinary competitions do. Most of these have parish finals, from which the best go to the national finals. Also, many of the entries come from schools, so participants have followers anxious to see their performances and celebrate their successes. In contrast, entrants for the Creative Writing Competition submit their entries without fanfare, in the last week in June. The public hear nothing about them until the Awards Ceremony held in Kingston in November. After that, the winning entries are put together in an exhibition which is displayed in Parish Libraries – 2 weeks for each parish.

In St. James, the 2012 exhibition runs from Monday, Feb 6 to Friday, Feb 17. Miss Natalie Morris, Cultural Organiser for St. James, must be congratulated on planning an attention-grabbing programme for the opening of the exhibition, which coincidentally fell on Bob Marley’s birthday. Musical presentations by St. James Prep School—Bob Marley Medley; and Spot Valley High School, winner of the Bob Marley Song Arrangement Competition 2011, certainly enlivened the programme.

Dr. Asburn Pinnock
The Guest Speaker, Dr. Asburn Pinnock, Principal of Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College gave an informative and entertaining presentation on Bob Marley. Using modern technology, he illustrated his account of Marley’s life with clips of his songs. Thanks are extended to Mackie Conscious for being there with his speaker box to amplify them.

Miss Morris adjusts the microphone for me.

The only ‘written word’ presentation was given by Helen Williams, who read an excerpt from Delroy and the Marog Princess, her bronze-medal winning entry in the 2011 Creative Writing Contest.

JCDC Creative Writing Exhibition Tour 2011/12 moves to the Hanover Parish Library from Feb 21 to Mar 6, then to Westmoreland from Mar 8-22; St. Elizabeth: Mar 26 to Apr 10; Manchester: Apr 12-26; Clarendon: Apr 30 - May 14; St. Catherine: May 16-30; St. Thomas: June 1-15; Portland: Jun 19 - July 23. The tour has already visited the other parishes.

In order to increase awareness of the JCDC Creative Writing Contest, Miss Morris also organised Poetry, Pudding and Punch (see my blog posted on Dec 23, 2011) with another evening of Poetry and Art, planned for Frebruary 26, 2012. Perhaps we need more functions where music, dance, painting, creative writing and photography can be displayed together. Poetry readings are appropriate for this mix, but other writing not so. Short stories and novels are intended for silent reading at one’s own convenience. A short story of 3000 words would take about 25 minutes to read out loud (and an average of 10 minutes to read silently) and an average novel would take about ten hours to read out loud! Plays, on the other hand, require their own stage and are costly to produce. A well-known play, Smile Orange, by Trevor Rhone was entered for the Creative Writing Contest many years ago, after which it became a popular production.

Do find time to visit the Exhibition at your parish library, and take 10 minutes to read a short story. I enjoyed the children's story: The Adventures of Jonah and Mesky the Mosquito by Lisa Shaw.

You can find out about the requirements for entering the Creative Writing Contest at the JCDC website:

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