Under the auspices of no one important comes a fresh, bold initiative for literacy in western Jamaica. The 50 for 50 Writing Competition isn’t just a laudable contribution to the Jamaica 50 celebrations, it is a ground-breaking first step to publicizing literature and writing among the youth and young adults of the island.
Kingston has Bookophilia, the Poetry Association, Edna Manley and the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts. Montego Bay has a library. But we are no less literate and no less driven to write than our comrades in the south. Why then is there such a deplorable lack of opportunities for creative self-expression?
50 for 50 attempts to address that lack by creating a forum where writers can grow together, regardless of location or accessibility of communal literary gatherings. Against a background of national pride, these writers will come together to create something bigger than them, and hopefully realize that their talent is just as colourful on the canvas of national achievements as the broad brush strokes of athletics and Usain Bolt.
50 for 50 started a week ago, but we are still looking for new writers. We are all part of the holistic effort to ensure the literary Jamaican does not disappear, does not waver, does not crumble under the heavy weight of book taxes and stereotypes.
If you are interested in being a part of something special (shout out to my Gleeks), then go ahead and sign up at 50 for 50 Jubilee or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t have to be young, you don’t even have to be a writer. Just as long as you’re Jamaican, and you have a story you want to tell.
All are welcome to sit at the typewriter and open up a vein.