Jamaican Author Receives First BURLA Award


The first Burke’s Literary Award (BURLA), to promote and recognise the work of authors, has been awarded to Jamaican-Canadian author, Horane Smith, for outstanding contribution to African-Canadian and Caribbean Literature.
Mr. Smith is the author of the international novel ‘Lover’s Leap: Based on the Jamaican Legend’. He is also the author of another popular novel, ‘Port Royal’, as well as ‘Underground to Freedom’, ‘The Lynching Stream’ and the just-released ‘Reggae Silver’.
The subjects of his novels vary from slavery in the Caribbean to slavery in America, piracy, lynchings, and the Underground Railroad movement, to contemporary subjects such as reggae, the Jamaican popular music that has grown from the inner cities of Kingston to the music stages of the world.
Presenting the award on Saturday night (December 11), Sam Burke, co-owner of Burke’s Books, along with his wife Rita, commended Mr. Smith for his tremendous contribution to Caribbean and Canadian literature in such a short time. He described his work as outstanding and said it was fitting that such an award be given to him.
Mr. Smith, a journalist-turned author, said he was humbled by the award and pledged to continue to do his part in telling the stories of the region. “There are so many stories to tell and we want our people to hear them. It’s important that we tell them ourselves to prevent the biases and misinterpretationof the past,” he said.
Mr. Smith urged new and upcoming authors to continue to write, despite the challenges in finding a publisher.
The BURLA awards, which will be given annually, are administered by the Burke’s Charitable Foundation, which was launched on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of Burke’s Books and Picture Framing, Canada’s oldest black bookstore.

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