The Burt Award in Kenya is coordinated by the National Book Development Council of Kenya (NBDCK), a Kenyan organization supporting the development of a reading culture in Kenya. CODE has been working with NBDCK to support literacy development programming in primary schools in western Kenya since 2009.
Objectives of the Award
- To support and motivate the development of supplementary reading materials for a critical stage of learning – the transition period between mother tongue and English medium of instruction in both primary and secondary schools.
- To publish stories which strengthen the English medium of instruction in both primary and secondary schools
- To stimulate and support the Kenyan publishing industry and contribute to the literary wealth of African literature
- To recognize excellence in literature for youth.
- To increase the stock of English readers in established school libraries and other libraries.
Youth literature in Kenya
Kenya has a number of established publishers and a growing publishing industry. There is a large pool of talented writers in the country, yet a clear need for relevant and appropriate reading materials to be available for youth to build and reinforce their literacy skills, and foster a love of reading.
Jurying and Awarding Manuscripts
Six professionals will judge the submissions. The jury members are carefully selected on the basis of their knowledge and expertise in literature, linguistics, publishing and writing. Manuscripts submitted by Kenyan writers are evaluated and judged on an individual basis. A week-long deliberation process takes place shortly after the competition closes to determine the top three finalists. After the manuscripts are further worked on by the authors together with publishers and are ready to be published, the short-listed manuscripts are evaluated again and the order of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place is determined.
Prizes and Guaranteed Purchase or Titles
Writers win monetary awards of $9,000 for first prize, $7,000 for second prize and $5,000 for third prize (CAD), while publishers receive a guaranteed purchase of 3,000 copies of each title. In addition, publishers print an additional 2,000 copies to market and sell commercially.
The Burt Award will help develop writers’ skills in Kenya by offering writers’ workshops. These workshops, held for aspiring writers and editors, are designed to address the need to build up writers’ skills in producing fiction specifically for youth.
Distribution of Books to Schools and Community Libraries
The National Book Development Council of Kenya will distribute the titles to more than 75 schools and community libraries throughout the country. Publishers together with the National Book Development Council will promote the titles in schools and the greater community through activities such as the radio and live dramatizations of the stories and essay-writing contests in schools.
For more information about the award, please contact:
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