Pakaraima Writers Association hosted their 15th Annual Literary Ceremony- Outdoors!

books by Guyanese

From: Habeeb Alli, Toronto – Oct 4th 2020 – bookhabeeb@gmail.com 

The onset of Covid has caused great inconvenience to many annual events. This year’s Pakaraima literary celebration was no exception. It was initially planned in a restaurant in Pickering, Ontario, but soon had to be hosted in a beautiful retreat-like backyard in Richmond Hill Ontario.  This was all made possible through the generous support of Cliff and Bhano Rajkumar who stepped in at this time of need.

The founder of Pakaraima Writers, Janet Naidu, had this vision to create a space for Guyanese and Caribbean writers and artists fifteen years ago, to showcase their works as well as provide necessary guidance to get published.       

Over the years, there have been many success stories with authors achieving published works, participation at the Guyana Independence Festivals and many other get-togethers to keep the consciousness of writers and poets in the Guyanese Canadian community together with friends of the Caribbean. The group ensured that COVID-19 measures were fully executed.

The event was especially convened to deliver the third Pakaraima Literary Award to Peter Jailall, Mississauga Poet Laureate and former school teacher in Guyana and Canada. Mr. Jailall graciously accepted this recognition for his longstanding contributions in literature and the arts by saying he will cherish this award and place it among his books! He has a number publications including Jottings, about Indigenous school children in the rainforest of Guyana. He read from his collection of poetry with such vibrancy, ranging from a variety of topics and gave such context to each poem!

A remarkable achievement of Pakaraima is to give voice to new writers. Narendra Jailall read from his new novel Watching from the Woods, a story for teenagers on nature and growing up but relevant to all with its varied themes of life. Narendra sold copies of his book and it could be found on Amazon. He credits his dad, Peter Jailall, for his inspiration!

Cliff Rajkumar, an emerging poet stole the hearts of the attendees with his deeply philosophical poems on life. He has accepted the tutelage and guidance of Pakaraimaas inspiration to get published soon. A special thanks to him and his family for hosting the Pakaraima’s event, at a time of great need!

Janet Naidu, writer, poet and educator, read poignantly from her several works with a theme of unity, highlighting the diversity of Guyana’s cultural identities andwith a voice of empathy for those suffering from racism.

The event was emceed by Habeeb Alli, now the President of Pakaraima as well as Dr. Sherry Itwaru, Professor of Liberal Arts and Education at George Brown College and Brock University.  As the current President, Habeeb inspired the audience with his passion for the written word.  He looks forward to the community supporting Pakaraima in its forthcoming events.

Habeeb, a renowned poet, scholar and educator, also read from Janet Naidu’s Collection, Rainwater and Shirley Najram, Secretary of Pakaraima and author of a children’s book Layers of the Rainforests, read the vote of thanks. The delicious refreshments were offered by our kind sponsor Alimas Roti and the Rajkumars.

Special thank you Ken Singh of Atlas Cargo International Freight Forwarding Inc. for providing the award and continued support.

Pakaraima acknowledges the congratulatory video message received from the Honorable MPP Sara Singh, reminding us that as a poet and writer and of Guyanese heritage – culture is very important.  So, to all poets and writers out there, keep writing your stories!

For more information Contact: Habeeb Allibookhabeeb@gmail.com 

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