Accra, October 24, 2013

Burt Award for African Literature (2012)

Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Minister for Education has advised creative writers to be responsive to contextualise the place where their narratives are coming from. She said most writers these days were in a rush to conclude their pieces and therefore did not do a lot of description in their writings. Prof Opoku-Agyemang was speaking at the 3rd Annual William Burt Award for African Literature and book launch in Accra.

The award which is an annual literary award and readership initiative, recognises excellence in young adult literature. The programme was sponsored by CODE, a Canadian non-governmental organisation in collaboration with the Ghana Book Trust (GBT), while William Burt and Literary Prizes Foundation provided the cash prizes for the award winners.

In all, three young Ghanaian authors were presented with cash prizes totaling the cedi equivalent of CAD $21,000 and a publishing contract for the publishers. The authors are Elizabeth-Irene Baitie, who wrote the book, “The Dorm challenge” came first and was presented with a cheque for GH¢16,200, Ruby Yayra Goka, who wrote “When the Shackles Fall”, came second and received a cheque for GH¢12,600, while Nii Kpani Addy, author of “Escape from Paradise” came third and was given a cheque for GH¢9,000.

Prof Opoku-Agyemang said creative writers had the responsibility to let children know the world in which they were especially their African heritage. “Being a Ghanaian is just recent but being an African is fundamental,” she added. Prof Opoku-Agyemang charged the writers to bring to the attention of readers the struggles of the people, where they came from and also their present circumstances. She said as creative writers, they must champion the good of the society.

Mrs. Genevieve Eba-Polley, Executive Director, GBT said the William Burt award was a yearly literary prize that recognises the excellence in young adult literature and provides young readers with engaging books that they want to read. She said the awards to the authors were meant to inspire them to write more books and to help in addressing a shortage of relevant and quality books for young people, while promoting the love for reading and learning in the middle and secondary levels.

Source: GNA