My Odyssey to Becoming an Author of the Year Finalist at the Gala Dynastie
Embarking on the literary journey is akin to navigating uncharted waters, with unpredictable highs and lows. As the author behind five novels partially crowdfunded by my ardent supporters and myself, the unexpected turn of events arrived with my latest thriller, Jam Run, earning me a prestigious Author of the Year nomination by the esteemed Dynasty Foundation. This recognition, set against the backdrop of multiple grant rejections, adds a layer of significance to my journey as a writer.
As the Dynasty Gala gears up for its eighth edition this year, the nomination comes as a beacon of accomplishment and resilience. The rejection of grant requests, all seemingly devoid of clear reasoning, had left me in a state of perplexity. Each rejection fueled my determination to create and publish Jam Run, making the subsequent nomination all the more sweet and unexpected.
Having attended a previous Dynasty Gala, I recognized its importance in the Quebec cultural landscape.
Submitting my application to the Dynasty Foundation, I approached it with cautious optimism. A previous attempt at the Quebec Writers Federation Awards Ceremony had yielded no nomination, leaving me uncertain about what to expect from a ceremony focusing on the achievements of Quebec’s Black artists and media personalities. Little did I know that this submission would pave the way for a significant turn in my literary journey.
The rejection of Quebec’s French media to broadcast the Dynasty Gala in the past was met with criticism, emphasizing the event’s role in providing a platform for marginalized voices.
Having attended a previous Dynasty Gala, I recognized its importance in the Quebec cultural landscape. It served as a response to the underrepresentation of Black entertainers, reminiscent of the NAACP or Essence Awards in the United States. The Gala’s commitment to being “By Us, and For Us,” as eloquently expressed by host Bella Forte during the unveiling, underscored its cultural significance.
The rejection of Quebec’s French media to broadcast the Dynasty Gala in the past was met with criticism, emphasizing the event’s role in providing a platform for marginalized voices. For me, this added weight to the importance of the Gala, solidifying its place as a crucial space for recognizing and celebrating the achievements of Quebec’s Black artists.
The turning point in my journey arrived in December 2023, marked by an email notification declaring me a finalist for Author of the Year. The surge of excitement and pride was palpable, but the confidentiality clause meant I had to keep the news under wraps until the official unveiling on February 9, 2024. The private ceremony at Place Des Arts added an extra layer of prestige to the recognition, making it a momentous occasion.
The selection criteria for Author of the Year, as outlined on the Dynasty Gala’s website, shed light on the nuanced evaluation process. Criteria ranging from the quality of literary form to the influence of the work offered a comprehensive view of the considerations. Interestingly, these criteria differed slightly from those used by grant selection juries, providing insight into why Jam Run resonated with the Dynasty jury when grant applications faced rejection.
The VIP event that followed the nomination was nothing short of a night to remember. Organizers orchestrated a meticulously planned affair, with attendees dressed to the nines. Originally prepared to don a suit and tie, a conversation with organizers led to a decision to keep the attire casual yet classy. For the gala, I’ll wear a tailor-made suit, which will mark another first.
Mingling with fellow nominees brought forth a sense of camaraderie. Spending most of the evening with Jessy Jean-Bart, a professional skateboarder, and rapper Csmere, both of Haitian and Martiniquan origin, respectively, showcased the diversity among the nominees. Selfies, cheers, and a group photo on the Black Carpet captured the joyous spirit of the celebration.
The significance of the Dynasty Gala was further emphasized by the staggering number of applications received—673, a 49% increase from the previous year. The exhaustive task of analyzing submissions fell upon a jury comprising thirty-seven independent professionals in the media and culture sectors, responsible for evaluating entries across thirteen cultural and twelve media categories.
A unique aspect of the Dynasty Gala is the opportunity for the public to participate in the selection process. Online voting, accessible at vote.galadynastie.com, allows the audience to choose their favourite personality. My photo, among the finalists, beckons for the support of my readers and well-wishers, and every vote is deeply appreciated.
In conclusion, my nomination for Author of the Year stands as a testament to resilience, creativity, and the power of recognition within a community that values and celebrates its own. As the Dynasty Gala approaches, I eagerly await the outcome of this prestigious event, poised for another milestone in my already illustrious career. The journey continues, and with each step, the narrative unfolds, weaving a tale of determination, triumph, and the enduring power of storytelling.