The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Creative Writing Competition will launch its newest initiative, an island-wide Writer’s Circle, this Monday, November 4 at the St. Elizabeth Parish library in St. Elizabeth, beginning at 10:00 am.
“St. Elizabeth is the home of the Most Outstanding Writer in the 2019 Jamaica Creative Writing Competition, Mr. Rohan Facey and it is also home of the Calabash Literary Festival, which makes it one of the literary capitals of Jamaica, and so it was only natural to launch this island wide-initiative in the parish,” said Rayon McLean, Speech and Literary Arts Development Specialist at the JCDC.
McLean further stated that the main objectives of the Writer’s Circle are to improve the creative and academic writing skills of participants, while developing their individual styles and tones and their ability to engage critically with creative texts across multiple genres. The group workshops will be centered on the Creative Writing Competition’s five areas of entry: poetry, essays, plays, short stories and novels.
Participants will also be able to demonstrate the ability to produce writing that is original and imaginative and practice performance skills, to present a live reading of their work, all while receiving personal feedback and mentoring from a creative writing professional.
“The JCDC Writer’s Circle is an active way of increasing literary citizenship and engagement throughout the island. Each parish will have a core of writers who use our parish offices and the parish libraries as there base for meetings, workshops and even local exhibition of works within the parish,” McLean said.
“The group size can range from as small as five members, up to 50 members and will use existing participants in Jamaica Creative Writing Competition as its primary target. Each circle will be captained by an outstanding writer from the parish who has participated in the Jamaica Creative Writing competition,” he continued.
A writing circle traditionally brings writers from different walks of life together in one place to discuss their work in a workshop style setting. Writing circles can build a sense of community and help writers become more confident in their own work as they allow writers to receive immediate feedback from fellow writers and teach writers, while simultaneously teaching them how to give and receive constructive feedback.