Guyana Annual out for 6th year since hiatus
Stabroek News
December 19, 2003

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The Guyana Annual 2004 contains an "exceptional" collection of contemporary stories of Guyana and continues a literary tradition, new editor Kojo McPherson says.

The 2004 edition was launched on Tuesday at Castellani House. The literary tradition of the annual started in 1915 under the banner of the Chronicle Christmas Annual. It was resuscitated as the Guyana Christmas Annual in 1998 under the patronage of Guyenterpise and Tulsi Dyal Singh with Allan Fenty as editor.

McPherson, who renamed it the Guyana Annual, said that the sixth edition since the annual was resuscitated after a prolonged absence in 1998 is a rich blend of prose, poetry and stories.

McPherson said the 2004 publication is a true testament to the endurance and creativity of Guyanese and their ideas. He pointed out that countless ideas were brought forward in the creation of the edition. According to McPherson, this year the focus was put on achieving a journalistic edge.

He asserted that literature is a part of our story telling. "The annual is one tough old bird that refuses to go away, spitting in the face of the old adage: 'All good things must come to an end'."

Fenty told the gathering that the magazine has weathered the fluctuations of sponsorship and the challenges of local publishing. He said that the new edition, aptly renamed the Guyana Annual wishes to dispel the perception that the magazine emphasizes only Christmas-oriented literature and features.

He noted that first annual published was in the tradition of the great English Annual, by the Daily Chronicle Newspapers Company. Then in 1928 it was under the editorship of historian ARF Webber. According to him, women writers emerged three years later with Eleanor Waley publishing her Memories of the Botanical Gardens.

Fenty said that in 1952 the annual used a colour medium, a first in local production. The promotion of local music and arts flourished through the articles published between 1940 and 1950, when the counterpart publication, the Christmas Tide, which preceded the Chronicle Christmas Annual by some 22 years, appeared for the last time.

The new edition includes a tribute to the late Guyanese artist, Maylene Duncan, reprinted from the Guyana Christmas Annual 2001 and written by Guyana Prize for Literature winner, Ruel Johnson. Prize winning pieces of the Henry Josiah Poetry and Short Story Competition are also included.

The annual also takes a look into the arts in Guyana, Carifesta VIII, Folk Festival in New York, the purpose of pageants in Guyana, the local fashion industry, AIDS Orphans and the year in sports. Included are several book reviews with writer Kurt Yorke providing an open-minded look into the prize-winning, Ariadne and Other Stories.