January, the month of the zodiac signs of Capricorn and Aquarius and the full moon is the wolf moon. The start of the year when we make resolutions, write on the new page in our diaries and hope that the year is going to be full of better things. It is also the coldest month of the year, we want to be cosy around a fire reading a book or two. Well, my January this year began with the very good news of a dream of mine becoming a reality. Since I arrived in Scotland in 1969 and slowly integrated to life here, worked, paid my taxes, put my roots here I had hoped to leave a small legacy that would be meaningful for all. With my passion for reading books and since 2008 becoming a writer I’ve wanted to see more books by people of colour on the bookshelves of all our bookshops. The idea of establishing a prize for writers of colour slowly took shape. I am thrilled that the Kavya Prize has been launched in 2022, the Year of Stories, Scotland. Voices of multi-cultural Scotland will be heard. I was lucky to find a kind benefactor (who wishes to remains anonymous) who gave a generous donation to make it possible. I approached Zoe Strachan at Glasgow University and a whole team there helped the process get underway.
Choosing the name of this prize was not easy. As always ancient civilisation with the world’s oldest books in Sanskrit was the perfect choice. Kavya is a popular and well recognised word in Sanskrit and refers to a literary style or a completed body of literature that was used in Indian courts of the Maharajahs who nurtured the cultural arts in India.
The launch of the Kavya Prize has been well received. We just need publishers to send books over for the adjudication. It’s an exciting time in the Scottish literary scene. This will keep me busy for a while.
Meanwhile writing for, and reading at events must go on. I am thrilled to be invited by St Mungo’s Mirrorball to read at their January showcase on the 20th along with a wonderful line up of amazing poets.
I wish you all a wonderful NEW YEAR filled with love, joy, good health and happiness.