CODE and The Bocas Lit Fest have announced the shortlist for the 6th CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature, which recognises talent and helps develop the careers of authors writing for 12-18 year old Caribbean readers.

The jury, administered by The Bocas Lit Fest, has selected a shortlist of 6 titles from 46 submissions of both published books and unpublished manuscripts by authors from across 10 Caribbean countries. Four of the six are Trinidadian authors.

Action, adventure, fantasy, myth, and forbidden love are some of the themes that feature in the shortlist. The judges were effusive in their praise for the quality of the writing, the credibility of the characters and the effectiveness of the plots in these six titles. Their comments on the entries range from “haunting” and “dark” to “enjoyable, fun, educational” and “ground breaking”.

The shortlisted titles are:

  • Jomo’s Storyby Nastassian Brandon (Jamaica)
  • The Unmarked Girl by Jeanelle Frontin (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • The Accidental Prizeby Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • The Mermaid Pools by Rehannah Azeeyah Khan (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)
  • Rise Of The Clearrock by Celia Sankar/ S.P. Claret (Trinidad and Tobago)

The winner and up to two finalists will be announced at a special event for students at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 1-5 May. The winning title will be awarded $10,000 CDN, and up to two finalists will be awarded $2,000 CDN each.

Established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for 60 years – with the generous support of William (Bill) Burt and in partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest, the award recognizes excellent, engaging and culturally-relevant literature for an underserved readership.

This is the last year of the Burt Award,  since the Award’s sponsor, Canadian philanthropist Bill Burt, died in 2017 and his Foundation has decided to change its sponsorship focus. CODE and Bocas have started the search for a replacement donor for this valuable prize.