It surely felt wonderful and a blessing to be a participant in the Cayman Literary Award Inaugural Event this past Saturday April 23rd.
From the moment I heard of this splendid opportunity, I was excited. Its motto says it all – “Shining Light on Exemplary Cayman Islands Books.” The Cayman Literary Book Award is designed to honor the best titles written and published by Cayman Islands residents. This is expected to be an annual affair and I had the esteemed pleasure of being an active participant in the inaugural event.
I guess with the name including the word “Award” one would expect that your focus is on getting an award. I recall my publisher Karen calling me up to get my feedback about the event, and she said to me as if in a cautious, apologetic defense “I had nothing to do with the judging”. But I quickly calmed her fears by letting her know that I was very happy with how the event turned out. I did not win an award, yet I was still recognized. My name was showing repeatedly on the screen as one of the authors, and the title of my two books were listed. To top it off I received a Certificate of Participation and my photo was taken. That to me was AWESOME! I smiled big and wide. I was recognized publicly as an author and thanked for my contribution. That for me is huge. I did not have to have my book place 3rd place, 2nd place or 1st place to feel happy. That moment was huge for me because I remember when I started on this journey, and heard teachers and family members say “no don’t become a writer because you can’t make any money from that” I obviously could only see my writing thereafter as nothing but a hobby. I wrote my first two books mostly because the inspiration came to me and I followed through. I did not take it all that seriously. But being at the inaugural event and seeing people in my local community being awarded – having their books judged and winners declared then receiving plaques, that made me think wow, I am an author. I am a writer. This is something big. It is no longer about just getting some inspiration come to me and I type them up, format them and send them off to be published. No, this is now a bigger deal for me. I never took myself very seriously before as an author. But this event really opened up my eyes to possibilities, and even to how worthy a talent it is to be a published writer.
It’s such a wonderful thing when someone steps in and takes on an idea that helps to improve the lives and even career of people in their community and society. I lift my hats off to Karen Chin for taking on such an outstanding venture.
If I feel this good about it I can only imagine how the actual 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners feel. All of us as local authors must feel really proud and motivated. I know that I am, and I look forward to greater and greater opportunities down the road. As the saying goes — the sky is the limit.