Inner City Girl, the work of Meadowbrook High School teacher, Colleen Smith-Dennis, is again in the spotlight. This time around, it is the international literary scene of Dublin, Ireland that is focusing on the now celebrated Jamaican novel.
Borne out of Smith-Dennis' longtime schoolroom experience, Inner City Girl has been nominated for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, which carries a whopping €100,000 (J$13.5 million) in prize money for the winning title.
The annual award, which is the largest of its kind, is presented for a novel that makes a lasting contribution to excellence in world literature. The winning title must either be written in the English language, or in another language with accompanying English translation.
The formal judging began last month when the full list of eligible nominated titles and the panel of judges were announced on November 15th. Inner City Girl was listed among the 162 nominated titles.
Author, Colleen Smith-Dennis, said she felt "a sense of achievement, gratefulness and humility to God for such an honour". Her novel stands a fighting chance against other works by renowned authors such as T.C. Boyle and Dan Brown. The shortlist of nominations is to be published in April 2011, followed by the announcement of the winning title in June 2011.
Commenting on the nomination, Dawn Henry, managing director of LMH Publishing said that since its release, Inner City Girl has had global appeal, engendering much promise for those behind the work. Her gut feeling all along, she said, was that "there was something special and touching about this title, especially its very personable writing style and presentation."
Inner City Girl is the story of Martina, a young girl from the inner city who struggles to overcome poverty, ridicule and rejection, after gaining acceptance to a very prestigious high school.