Press Release: Jamaica to officially proclaim World Poetry Day on March 21

Kingston, Jamaica: The National Library of Jamaica (NLJ), an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is proud to announce the inaugural celebration of World Poetry Day, Jamaica on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at The Knutsford Court Hotel.

Through the efforts of the Poet Laureate of Jamaica programme, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Linton Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, KSt.J has officially declared a national poetry day celebration under the broader umbrella of World Poetry Day coordinated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Promotion and popularization of poetry is the new thrust area of the National Library of Jamaica, which will become a mainstay of the NLJ’s projects in 2018 and beyond.

The day’s activities will begin with an International Poetry Reading segment where members from the diplomatic corps and international community will share in the reading of celebrated works of world poetry commencing at 9:30 a.m. The official opening of the event will be at 10:30 a.m. In addition to this event, schools across the island have been invited to participate by reciting a poem of their own choosing during their morning devotions. Teachers and students are invited to share images and videos on social using the hashtag #WORLDPOETRYDAYJAMAICA.

This World Poetry Day, Jamaica celebration is free to the public and the NLJ is encouraging like-minded individuals, students and lovers of poetry to participate in this historic event.

The UNESCO World Poetry Day was conceived as a way to recognize the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind; promote the reading, writing, and teaching of poetry; and to give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional, and international poetry movements.

These objectives are in keeping with the mandate of the National Library of Jamaica. Jamaica’s adoption of World Poetry Day supports UNESCO’s World Poetry Day and its goals; Jamaica will join the ranks of countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, and USA which officially celebrate World Poetry Day.

Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Lorna Goodison fresh off the heels of her recent win of the Windham-Campbell Prize in Poetry will award the winner of the Poet Laureate of Jamaica and Helen Zell: Young Writers Prize for Poetry, a major poetry prize of US $1,000.

This cash prize is funded by the Helen Zell Writer’s Program at the University of Michigan to recognize talented young Jamaicans with an interest in pursuing a career in poetry. The competition received over 340 submissions from young Jamaican living at home and abroad with each applicant submitting a portfolio of between three to six poems (3-6) poems.

The shortlisted candidates for the Helen Zell Young Writer’s Prize for Poetry are: Jovanté Anderson, Khadijah Chin, Lauren Delapenha, Britney Gabbidon.

Giving emphasis to ‘new voices’ in Jamaican poetry, shortlisted candidates will be invited to read selections of their work during the programme.

NLJ is proud to steer this project and would like to thank its partners, Book Industry Association of Jamaica; Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Ministry of Education; Youth and Information; Jamaica Library Service; Jamaica National Commissions for UNESCO, Osmosis Caribbean.


For further information, contact:
Abigail Henry – Director, Special Programmes
National Library of Jamaica
12 East Street
Tel: (876) 967-1526, 967-2516, 967-2494, 967-2496