The Malliouhana Poetry Committee will pay tribute to Mrs. Ijahnya Christian at the 2020 Malliouhana Poetry Awards on Wednesday, 27th May at the Public Library. This event was originally slated for May 7th, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Organising Committee had initially selected Ijahnya as the recipient of 2020 Malliouhana Culture Bearer Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the literary and cultural development of Anguilla. In light of her recent passing, the Committee has decided to dedicate this year’s competition to her memory and unveil a special plaque in her honour.
As an educator, editor, writer, researcher, publisher and social/cultural activist, Ijahnya bequeathed a legacy that has positively impacted nearly all spheres of Anguillian life and culture. Passionate about the oral tradition of storytelling, she was noted for her work on the “Dictionary of Anguillian Language”, the first publication to focus on the linguistic heritage of the island. She was also a mentor and editor for Lottis Hodge’s inspirational autobiography “Ning Troubles”. Ijahnya was part of the “Jollification Time” initiative by Sunshine Lady Productions, as well as the Sting-Ray music project. Her social and cultural contributions also included the founding of Triple Crown Culture Yard and the Athlyi Rogers Study Centre, as well as her service as Executive Director of the Anguilla National Trust and Director of the Department of Youth and Culture.
Ijahnya is the latest Anguillian Culture Bearer to be honoured by the Malliouhana Poetry Committee. Other Awardees include Educator, Poet and Cultural Activist, Ms. Linda T. Lake, poet and revolutionary heroine, Mrs. Daisy “Wong” Richardson, Mrs. Verna Bryan, Mrs. Iona Hodge, Mrs. Olive Hodge, Ms. Carmencita Woods, Mr. Winston Harrigan, Mr. Felix Fleming, Mrs. Bernice Fahie-Richardson, Ms. Lena Gumbs, Ms. Lottis Hodge, Mrs. Patricia Adams and Mr. David Carty.
The Malliouhana Poetry Competition is organised by the University of the West Indies Open Campus Anguilla in collaboration with the Anguilla Library Service, the Department of Youth and Culture and the Anguilla Community College. Now part of the annual Anguilla Day Celebration activities, over the years the Organisers have used the event to encourage literacy and artistic expression, as well as to promote an ethos of social, cultural, and political awareness, by celebrating and paying tribute to local Poets and Culture Bearers.
The Awards Ceremony on 27th May in celebration of Ijahnya and the 2020 Malliouhana Poetry Competition Awardees will be live streamed.