CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature 2014

CODE's Burt Award for Caribbean Literature recognizes outstanding writing for young adults by Caribbean authors

About the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature

The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature is an annual Award that will be given to three English-language literary works for young adults (aged 12 through 18) written by Caribbean authors. Established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been supporting literacy and learning for over 50 years – with the generous support of the Literary Prizes Foundation and in partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest, the Award aims to provide engaging and culturally-relevant books for young people across the Caribbean.

The intent of the prize is to champion literacy, build language skills and foster the love and habit of reading amongst youth and young adults. 

Up to three prizes will be awarded each year to the authors of the winning titles: a First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CAD and a Third Prize of $5,000 CAD. Publishers of winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of up to 2,000 copies (only publishers registered and operating in the Caribbean are eligible). Copies purchased by the program are donated to select libraries, schools and literacy organizations for distribution throughout the region.


The Inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature Winners

First Place: All Over Again by A-dZiko Gegele, Jamaica

all over again - cover FAW 05JUN2013


All Over Again is an enchanting slice of boyhood. It is a charming story with a bold narrative style that pulls you in. Rooted in over 30 years of theatre, prose and poetry performance writing, A-dZiko Simba Gegele’s exuberantly humorous debut novel masterfully creates the wonderfully turbulent world of a Jamaican youth on the brink of teenage-hood.

A humourous coming of age story, suitable for both the young and the young at heart

Published by Blouse & Skirt Books.



Second Place: Musical Youth by Joanne Hillhouse, Antigua and Barbuda


Zahara is a loner. She’s brilliant on the guitar but in everyday life she doesn’t really fit in. Then she meets Shaka, himself a musical genius and the first boy who really gets her. They discover that they share a special bond, their passion for music, and Zahara finds herself a part, not just of Shaka’s life, but also that of his boys, the Lion Crew.

When they all get roles in a summer musical, Zahara, Shaka, and the rest of the Lion Crew use the opportunity to work on a secret project. But the Crew gets much more than they bargained for when they uncover a dark secret linking Shaka and Zahara’s families and they’re forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about class, colour, and relationships on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Published by Caribbean Reads Publishing.


Third Place: Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis, Jamaica

Inner city Girl


Martina does the unthinkable: a poor girl from the inner-city gains entry into one of the most prestigious high schools in the country. Milverton High, situated on a hill with its picturesque surroundings, students from the upper echelons of society and teachers who did not necessarily understand, contrasts with the poverty, hunger and family problems which Martina encounters. She is not about to succumb to ridicule, rejection and poverty. Milverton, here she comes, defying all the odds!


Published by LMH Publishing.


Code logoThe other shortlisted titles are:

  • Island Princess in Brooklyn by Diane Browne, Jamaica (published by Carlong)
  • Barrel Girl by Glynis Guevara, Trinidad and Tobago (manuscript to be published)
  • Abraham’s Treasure by Joanne Skerrett, Dominica (published by Papillote Press)