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May 24, 2001 – It happens to just about every publicist sooner or later, and it happened to University of the Virgin Islands public information director Davida Siwisa James Thursday: As a normal part of her job, she reviewed and distributed a press release from "The Caribbean Writer," an annual anthology published by UVI, about the winners of its 2000 literary awards.
And one of the five winners is … Davida Siwisa James.
Her short story, "The Commute," received the Marguerite Cobb McKay Prize, with an award of $100. The prize is for a Virgin Islands resident. The story traces the routine, yet spiritually uplifting, route taken from home to work daily by a woman who once lived in New York and Los Angeles and now calls St. Thomas home. A woman bearing a striking resemblance, to anyone who knows James, to the author herself.
"I got my notice about the award and I was really surprised and quite honored," James said. "It's the first of my creative writings to be published, and to be recognized with an award as well is a wonderful feeling." When "The Caribbean Writer" editorial office sent her office the release to issue, "it was very surreal sending out something in which I was mentioned," she added.
The other prizes for the year 2000 edition, Volume 14, were won by writers from Trinidad and the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Cuba:
– The David Hough Literary Prize, with an award of $500, went to Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming, a Trinidadian who lives in the Bahamas. She has had poems and reviews published in "The Caribbean Writer" since 1992. The award is supported by Christiansted jewelry designer Sonya Hough and is named in memory of her late husband.
– The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for best short story, with a $400 award, went to Alexandra Nunez de Migoya, a native of Santo Domingo now practicing law in Washington, D.C. The prize is sponsored by The Avis and named for its late, longtime publisher.
– The Daily News Prize for best poem, with a $300 award, went to Fred D'Aguiar, a widely published poet originally from Guyana who now chairs the English department at the University of Miami.
– The Isidor and Charlotte Paiewonsky Prize for first time publication in "The Caribbean Writer," with a $200 award, went to Osvaldo Ortega Chinea, a writer from Cuba now residing in Louisiana.
"The Caribbean Writer" itself recently won international recognition as the recipient of a prestigious Pushcart Prize. The award was for a poem by Kwame Dawes that appeared in Volume 14. The poem, titled "Inheritance," is one of a series of tributes in the book to Nobel Prize-winning playwright Derek Walcott on the occasion of his 70th birthday.
"The Caribbean Writer can be purchased at bookstores and gift shops throughout the territory. It is available online at Amazon.com and copies also can be ordered directly from the publication office by calling 692-4152 or e-mailing to Caribbean Writer.
Volume 15, the 2001 edition, is currently in production. To access the publication web site, go to The Caribbean Writer.

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