Linda M. Deane Takes Top Prize at the 23rd FCLE Awards
Linda M. Deane took the $10,000 top prize at the 23rd Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Competition. Her collection of poems, “An Ocean Away; My Mother Smiling: Tales of Migration and Memory” beat out more than 60 other entries to take the top spot in the long-running Central Bank of Barbados-sponsored writing contest.
Deane’s win was announced during a virtual awards ceremony that featured readings from the top four finalists. Poets swept the top spots, with second prize being awarded jointly to Carlyon Blackman for her anthology, “All Oppression is Connected” and Jacinth Howard for her collection “The Mother Island”. Blackman and Howard each received $5,000. No third prize was awarded due to the second-place tie. Zoanne Evans received the Prime Minister’s Award for her novel “Tameisha’s Lesson.”
In an interview shown during the awards, Deane revealed what motivated her to pen her winning collection: “It is about my mother, and it’s about memory and about migration. It was inspired by her life, but only really started to come together as our family – my sister and myself and my father – had to come to grips with her Alzheimer’s. And I figured, you know, she’s been migrating all her life. She migrated to England back in the 50’s, and migrated from England to other parts of the world. We migrate in so many different ways, and it struck us that this illness of hers, which is so cruel, is yet another migration. And so the collection is a way to tie all these forms of migrating together.”
She also spoke about the FCLE’s role in developing Barbadian writers. “They force us… I’d say inspire us, but they also compel us, challenge writers to step up their game…. I see the Frank Collymore Literary Awards as our literary Grammys or Oscars.”
The FCLE is part of the Central Bank of Barbados’ domestic outreach. It was started in 1997 with the goal of supporting and developing the literary arts in Barbados. In addition to the annual competition, the programme conducts writers’ clinics and has begun a school’s programme.