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Literary Festival and Book Fair Announces Student Short Story Prize Winners

University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) freshman Shani Isaac took first place in the recently concluded 3rd Annual VI Literary Festival College Student Writers’ Competition, which was held from April 19-22 on St. Croix. Isaac, who won the judges’ unanimous approval for “As Far as I Know,” is one of three student authors from UVI to win the coveted designation for their short stories. Jahvan Navarro took second place with “To the Little House I Returned,” while Akyve Scarborough won third place for “Akwamu Do Not Cry.”

“I was impressed with the students’ general performance,” said Alscess Lewis-Brown, chair of the VI LitFest. “The writing expressed a strong sense of culture and history blended with solid characterization, and the balance between dialogue and narrative made the stories very compelling,” she said. “This is exactly why it is so important to host these literary events where young writers can find an outlet for expression.”

Lewis-Brown said the judges were also impressed with the level of competence the winning stories reflected and that they urged the student authors to continue to write and to submit their work for professional review.

Other competitors, including Carina Campbell, Kiara Joseph, Nashalis Gonzalez and Kiara Sealey, received honorable mentions for their work. New York best-selling author Tobias Buckell chaired the three-judge panel. 

The student-writing feature of the literary festival celebrates creativity and excellence in fiction, poetry, dance, drama and art. This year, the VI LitFest honored its founder, Dr. Simon Jones-Hendrickson, as part of the celebration. Jones-Hendrickson, a former dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the university, was recognized for his vision in launching the festival and setting the foundation for making it a premiere annual event, drawing local, regional and national audiences.  

For more information on the VI Literary Festival and Book Fair, call 692-4122 or send an e-mail to abrown@uvi.edu.

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