International Letter Writing Competition Aims to Get Young People Writing Again
Globally, around 320 billion letters are sent annually, but this is decreasing at a rate of around 3% a year. Although technology has made letter writing all but obsolete, it is worrying that in Barbados, the next generation may not gain the benefits of writing a letter.
Doing so increases creativity and thoughtfulness which can lead a child to joining the long list of great Caribbean authors. In order to get young people writing again, the International Letter Writing Competition is incentivising letter writing and putting the fun back into the hobby. It is hoped that this can keep the art of letter writing alive for many more years.
The Rules of the Competition
In 2019, submissions were due by May 5th and the letter was to be written about the writer’s hero. Previous competitions have involved themes of time travel, advising the Secretary-General of the UN, and writing a letter to your future self. Length and content guidelines are flexible, as long as the letter fits into the theme of the year. These themes are all clearly designed to induce creativity in the world’s youth.
The Historical Importance of Writing in the Caribbean
The Caribbean has a rich and important literary history and letter writing can connect the youth of Barbados to this world. If your child wants to get involved, they shouldn’t just write the letter, but they should learn to print postage stamps online, and write the address on the envelope before sending it to a real person. This way, they can receive responses and continue to be inspired to write.
The Native Americans in the Caribbean were part of the oral tradition, with the oldest records of letter writing originating with colonisers. However, in the 1920s, authors such as Aimé Cesaire and Léon Damas connected European styles to contemporary black culture. This created a unique Caribbean identity that the youth of Barbados can connect with via letter writing.
The art of letter writing has not yet left the shores of Barbados. If you want your child to keep the diverse and fascinating history of Caribbean literature alive, then consider signing them up for the 2020 International Letter Writing competition. Until then, finding a pen pal may help them to develop their creative skills from an early age.