I do not think my friend and erstwhile mentor Evan X Hyde will make his atypical grand appearance to accept the first-ever Zee Edgell for Literary Arts prize later today, and while I am disappointed, I completely understand.
The honour is not only well deserved and a too long time in coming but it is indubitable that Evan The X has influenced more Belizeans through his writings than anyone else here in Belize, and we are talking generations of Belizeans.
His writings are an institution that is unmatched, and I think will remain unmatched in style and the sheer volume of output certainly for my entire lifetime and the foreseeable future.
No one else has written and published more as regularly as he has over the last 50-55 years, and it is not likely that anyone else can in at least another generation or two. His columns and editorials have appeared weekly, at times twice-weekly during all that time.
I would’ve liked to attend the historic ceremony to witness Evan’s in-person acceptance of the prize because I know I would have been witnessing history. I am one of thousands, if not tens of thousands who were inspired by his unique pen, and certainly, it was one of my earliest inspirations.
I understand his constraints and no, it has less to do with his desire to guard against the seemingly random physical and emotional attacks from those who seemingly appear out of nowhere and are inflamed by something they may’ve read or were misinterpreted to them by malicious malinterpreters, and more by safety concerns engendered by this plague of biblical proportions that has descended upon the world and all of human civilization.
My public kudos to NICH for this effort. It is appropriate that Lucio “No wait til the man dead” Alcoser will accept the Andy Palacio Prize for Belizean Music; Fernando Cruz, the George Gabb Prize for Visual Arts; Althea Sealy, the Rosita Baltazar Prize for Dance; Florencia Castillo, the Don Elijio Panti Prize for Protection and Development of Traditional knowledge; Leonides Sanchez, the Leela Vernon Prize for Creative Community Action & Safeguarding Cultural Heritage, and Leroy Green the Beverley Smith Prize for acting in theatre and film.
Congratulations and my undying thanks to all.