Three Ghanaian authors who have distinguished themselves in their literary writings were on Friday awarded the William Burt Award for African literature 2014.
The Burt Award consist of monetary prizes of $ 9,000 for first prize, $ 7,000 for second prize and $ 5,000 for third prize Canadian dollars, while publishers receive a guaranteed purchase of 3,000 copies of each title to be distributed to schools and libraries in their country.

This year there was no winner for the first category. The second prize winners were Dr Ruby Yayra Gokah with her book “Plain Yellowing” and Mr David Kwame Kwakye with his book “Lightning”; who each received the cedi equivalent of $ 7,000 Canadian dollars (GH? 21,000.00).

Mr Asare Adei with his book “Witches of Honour” received the cedi equivalent of $ 5,000 Canadian dollars (GH? 15,000.00) for the third prize.

It would be recalled that Dr Goka won the first prize in the 2013 awards held last year with her book “Perfectly Imperfect”.

The Burt Award for African Literature is a literary prize that recognises excellence in young adult fiction from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya.

Sponsored by CODE, a Canadian non-governmental organisation and made possible by the generosity of William Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation, the Award addresses an ongoing shortage of relevant, quality books for young people in Africa, while at the same time promoting a love of reading and learning.

The Ghana Book Trust is the local coordinating organization administering the Burt Award in Ghana.

Speaking at the event in Accra, Mrs Dzifa Abla Gomashie, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts appealed to parents to inculcate the culture of reading and learning in children.

She called on parents and guardians to ensure that their children patronize libraries.

Mrs Gomashie urged African writers to project the image of the continent through their literal works.

“Our writers have the potential and the power to help us celebrate who we are,” she observed.

Mrs Genevieve Eba-Polley, the Executive Director, Ghana Book Trust recounted that the organisation with support from CODE runs capacity building workshops for teachers in the management of libraries.

She said in support of the schools that Ghana Book Trust works with, libraries are also established, adding that library furniture consisting of book shelves, eight-seater tables, chairs and books were distributed to each school that had had teachers trained in Library Management.

She said the organisation procures books from North America in promotion of a reading culture in Ghana; which were sold at highly subsidised rates only to recover the cost of procurement, freight and clearing.

“A fair amount of these books are donated to schools and community libraries,” she said.

She appealed to writers interested in the Award to ensure that their works were handled by established publishers who would take time to edit their stories before submission.

Mrs Sharon Jennings, Burt Award representative said its importance cannot be underestimated, stating that “stories that are well writing will promote reading and learning among children”.


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