Ronald Williams emerged as the top entrant in the 24th Frank Collymore Literary Endowment (FCLE) Competition. This was announced during a scaled-down in-person awards ceremony at the Frank Collymore Hall.
Despite his “The Fall of Autumn Leaves” being the year’s best submission, however, the US-based Barbadian writer was awarded the $5,000 second prize, as the judges declined to award the top prize.
The night’s other winners were Derek Thorpe, with “A Conspiracy of Kites,” and Gloria Eastmond, with “In Gran’s Backyard“, who tied for third place, each receiving $3,000, and Natassia Rambarran, who took home the Prime Minister’s Award for “Journey to the Hyphen.” Last year’s second place finisher, Carlyon Blackman, received honourable mention for her entry “The Hard Line.”
In his remarks at the event, Central Bank of Barbados Deputy Governor Alwyn Jordan noted the Bank sponsored the FCLE for almost half of the organisation’s 50-year existence, and explained why the Bank has long been a major supporter of the arts:
“From the outset, we recognised that we needed to be more than the traditional definition of a central bank. That while fostering an economic and financial environment that leads to sustainable economic growth was our raison d’être, we could and should be more.”
Jordan also praised the recent changes to the submission process, which now allows writers to submit their entries online and as such opens the competition to Barbadians living abroad, saying that this “will offer more competition and fresh and more diverse perspectives from our entrants, both of which are important as we continue on our journey to elevating the literary arts in Barbados.”
The ceremony also featured excerpts from the winning entries and a feature address by Jamaican poet Kei Miller.