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Scratch leads list of Musgrave Medal recipients

Published:Saturday | October 5, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Lee 'Scratch' Perry

Eight distinguished Jamaicans are to receive the Institute of Jamaica's (IOJ) Musgrave Award on October 16 at the annual Musgrave Medals Award Ceremony, commencing at 3 p.m.

The event will be held at the IOJ Lecture Hall, located at the corner of East and Tower streets in downtown Kingston.

In keeping with the IOJ's mandate for the 'Encouragement of Literature, Science and Art in Jamaica,' two Gold, four Silver and two Bronze Musgrave Medals will be presented to the 2013 awardees for their achievements in the literary, scientific and artistic fields.

Gold Musgrave Medals will be presented to musician-composer Rainford Lee 'Scratch' Perry, whose pioneering studio work and distinctive sound led to the establishment of the dub genre; and social historian Professor Franklin Knight, director of the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, where he became the first non-white professor in the history of the university to be granted academic tenure.

Silver Musgrave Medals will be presented to author, Marlon James and guitarist Earl 'Chinna' Smith. Marlon James has published two novels: John Crow's Devil (2005) and The Book of Night Women (2009). The latter has won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction and the Minnesota Book Award.

Guitarist, Smith, best known for his work with the Soul Syndicate Band, has played an integral role in reggae music since its embryonic stages in the early 1970s. He remains in demand even as Jamaican popular music made the digital transition, leaving some of his contemporaries by the wayside.


Author-painter Franklin Bernal and climate change expert Professor Michael Taylor will also receive Silver Musgrave Medals.

Bernal, a self-taught artist, painted the National Symbols - the Coat of Arms, the National Bird, National Flower, National Tree and National Fruit - at Independence in 1962 which were used as the official and accurate representations distributed by the Jamaica Information Service.

As the director of the Climate Change Studies Group (Mona), Taylor has successfully positioned the organisation as a national and regional research entity to be consulted on matters related to the science of climate change and has significantly altered the way climate change is spoken of in the Caribbean context.

Poet and writer of short fiction, Dr Pamela Mordecai, and natural products researcher Dr Trevor Yee, will be presented with Bronze Musgrave Medals.

Mordecai has written articles on Caribbean literature, education and publishing, as well as collaborated on the writing of textbooks, children's books, five books of poetry for adults, a collection of short fiction, and with her husband, Martin, a reference work on Jamaica.

Executive Director of the University of the West Indies' Natural Products Institute, Dr Yee, has spearheaded the focus on identifying, extracting, and commercialising substances found in nature for the purpose of human growth, development and health.

The Musgrave Award is one of the oldest awards of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Awarded for the first time in 1897, the Musgrave Medal was introduced as a memorial to Sir Anthony Musgrave, who, in his tenure as governor of Jamaica, founded the Institute of Jamaica in 1879.

A Gold medal is awarded for distinguished eminence, Silver for outstanding merit, and Bronze for merit in the fields of literature, science or art.