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Olive Senior, one of Jamaica’s leading women in Literature, was on Wednesday (Dec.14) awarded the Musgrave Gold Medal for her contribution to the field.
State Minister for Education, Youth and Culture, Dr. Donald Rhodd, who presented the medal to Miss Senior at a ceremony held at the Institute of Jamaica’s downtown Kingston headquarters, pointed out that her skill, talent and portrayal of Jamaican characters, have endeared her to an audience worldwide, who delight in her amazing ability to capture the authentic speech and attitudes of the Jamaican people.
“Today, we pay homage to Miss Olive Senior as an icon in the literary community and a role model to all Jamaicans, and express our profound gratitude for her exceptional contribution to the preservation and promotion of our history and heritage,” he said.He also applauded the Institute for continuing its fine tradition of honouring outstanding Jamaicans in keeping with the commitment of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture.
In her response, Miss Senior pointed out that her motivation was not to win awards “but to satisfy her own curiosity”.
In a citation read by Jean Smith, Member of Council of the Institute of Jamaica, Miss Senior was lauded for her outstanding fictional works, which have gained her a wide readership.
“Her readers marvel at her gift for capturing the authentic speech and attitudes of a nation, which like so many of her characters, is struggling to reconcile warring emotional forces and striving for definition,” the citation read.
Miss Senior has had a along tradition of excellence in Literature and her outstanding body of work earned her a Silver Musgrave Medal in 1988.
Among her publications are: ‘Arrival of the Snake Woman and Other Stories’; ‘Discerner of Hearts’; and ‘Summer Lightning and Other Stories’ for which she won the Commonwealth Prize in 1987.
Her long-awaited ‘Encyclopedia of Jamaica Heritage’, which is a compendium of Jamaica’s rich history and culture, was published in 2003.