Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Kirk Williams ‘writes like Maas Ran’

Published:Sunday | January 29, 2017 | 1:00 AM
Kirk Williams

Upcoming writer Kirk Williams is the winner of a special writing challenge 'Write like Maas Ran'. The competition, organised by thr Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), was in honour of the 104th anniversary of Randolph "Ranny" Williams, or Maas Ran, as he was affectionately called

He was a dramatist, comedian, radio and television host, and one of Jamaica's foremost theatre practitioners and cultural icons. Jamaicans from across the island and the diaspora were encouraged to try their hand at one of this icon's greatest crafts.

Williams, who is no stranger to JCDC competitions, has previously won two first place trophies and two bronze medals in the Jamaica Creative Writing Competition & Exhibition, called the win a "pleasant surprise".

"It was a surprise really, not that I doubt my abilities, but it was good to know that I have this diversity and was rewarded for it." Williams said.

He continued: "As an aspiring writer, I usually write in a more contemporary style, and I am not used to the older, traditionally Jamaican-language style of writing. I entered the competition wanting to branch out into an area I'm not as familiar with, and test my abilities."

Williams, who says that he writes primarily poetry and some short stories, is now trying to branch off into novel writing. He said that he prepared for his piece by researching traditional folklore and language.

 

Widely read

 

"I read quite a few Miss Lou poems for both use of language and her story telling skills, and I also read up on West Indian culture and superstitions, things my generation may not necessarily be aware of, but older folks would know." Williams said, adding "spelling as well, Patois is tricky."

"Kirk Williams' poem is a perfect representation of what we were trying to do with this competition. It is engaging, entertaining, humorous, and dripping with traditional Jamaican culture.

We hope that future creative writing entrants will follow his lead" Davidson said, "The JCDC congratulates him on his win and gives kudos to the adjudicators for selecting his piece."

"We chose to do a special writing challenge as we thought it was an effective way to get the public, young persons especially, engaged in a fun way to learn about their culture and develop their creative talents," said Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the JCDC Stephen Davidson.

The competition instructed entrants to write a creative piece using the title Maas Ran and Di Duppy, which could take the form of a poem or short story. The competition, which ran for two weeks, received over 40 entries from across the island.

"We were impressed with the response from the public and the entries themselves were impressive" Davidson stated, while clarifying that the competition, like all other JCDC competitions, was judged by external adjudicators, who also selected the winner.

"The JCDC only facilitates the competition by setting the rules, collecting entries, selecting adjudicators and collecting results. This is the way we conduct all our competitions as we find it is the best way to maintain the integrity of our competitions" Davidson said. He continued, "For this competition we selected seasoned adjudicators, who themselves are masters of their literary crafts, and gave them the criteria on which to make their selection."

The judges were given the following criteria: Interpretation of the subject chosen, originality/creativity, creative use of language, imaginative expression, use of literary devices and overall impact (presentation).

Over the course of his life he appeared in many pantomimes, films, and on television. He was the host of the television show the Ranny Williams Show and his films include A High Wind in Jamaica, Oh Dad Poor Dad, Jamaica No Problems, and The Marijuana Affair. His list of awards and achievements include: The Jamaica Certificate and the Badge of Honour in the Queen's New Year's honours list, the Institute of Jamaica's Silver Musgrave Medal, the Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD) for Outstanding Services in the field of Entertainment, and the Centenary Medal.