Jamaican advertising creative director, Roland Watson-Grant, is making his name as a short story writer and novelist. In 2011, his writing was introduced to the world stage when his short story, Sketcher, was named an international prize winner in the Annual Lightship Literary Prizes held in Hull, England. Another short fiction entry, Home Run, was longlisted in the competition.
After Roland’s reading at the award ceremony in Hull, a London publisher from the audience offered him a book deal to turn Sketcher into a full length novel. The novel was published in 2013 to critical acclaim and was shortlisted for an Amazon Rising Star Award. Sketcher has transcended cultural lines and language barriers, having been translated into Turkish and published in Istanbul in 2014 under the title, “Eskizci”, with a Spanish version called “El Nino Que Dibujaba un Mundo Nuevo” published in Madrid in 2015. The sequel, entitled Skid, was published by Alma Books in 2014. Both books are distributed by Alma Books, Bloomsbury New York as well as Penguin RandomHouse, Canada.
In March 2017, Roland’s short story, Cursing Mrs Murphy, was shortlisted by a panel of international judges for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2017 in a record year that saw more than 6,000 entries. The winners of the regional and overall international prize will be announced this summer.
Roland proudly refers to Two Seasons Talking Trees as his Jamaican “Alma Mater” as his appearance on the Talking Trees stage in February 2012 was his first reading in public in Jamaica. He read again at Talking Trees in 2014 and will once again delight the audience on May 27, 2017. Roland says he is “looking forward to coming home” to Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta.