Canada: Brampton publisher wins Guyanese writing competition

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 September 2023, 21:13 by Denis Chabrol

MiddleRoad Publishers wins the Guyana Prize for Literature Fiction

Reproduced from Brampton Guardian

By Alexandra Shimo Brampton Guardian

Ken Puddicombe is a writer, editor and publisher. He won the Guyanese prize for literature fiction for his “Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories.” – Ken Puddicombe photo

They publish just four books per year. They operate on a shoestring budget. Yet Brampton’s MiddleRoad Publishers has on its roster the book that won the 2022 Guyana Prize for Literature Fiction.

“It was euphoric,” said author Ken Puddicombe, who — as well as having penned the winning “Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories” — is also the publisher of MiddleRoad. “Finally some recognition for writing my work over a number of years.”

The book is a collection of sixteen short stories about eclectic characters, such as a freewheeling spirit who spends time gambling, a housewife who faces the final straw with her abusive husband and a mailman caught in the World Trade Center attacks.

The Guyana Prizes for Literature were established in 1987 with a view to promoting the development of Guyanese and Caribbean literature. Prizes are awarded biennially in categories, including best book of fiction, best first book of fiction, best book of poems, best first book of poems and best play.

Puddicombe lived in Georgetown, Guyana, and immigrated as a young man from that country in the ’70s. As well as penning several books, he started MiddleRoad Publishers in 2012 after trying to be published by mainstream publishers but having little success.

He wanted to establish a publishing house that would nurture authors who produced good work but still found difficulties getting their work published. “This is a personalized service for select clientele. We are only interested in producing a quality product.”

To this end, the manuscripts go through up to seven edits. The work is edited by Puddicombe himself, who worked as an accountant until 2008, when he retired and started writing his first novel, “Racing With The Rain.”

So far, MiddleRoad has published 25 titles in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and anthologies. The authors are mostly from Brampton, but they accept other locations, too.

“The editing process provided by MiddleRoad Publishers has helped me to explore my own creativity and delve into the depths of my experience and imagination to enhance the basic story lines and plot outlines of my writing to present a fuller, wider reading experience for the reader,” said Heather Ferguson, author of the upcoming “Circe’s Dance and Other Stories.”

“His (Ken’s) strength lies in his ability to find flaws as a line editor, and in this he is invaluable,” said author Michael Joll, who has published five books with MiddleRoad. “He has pointed out many an inconsistency in plot, character or descriptive narrative due to his eagle eye.”
MiddleRoad is interested in helping to build Brampton as an artistic destination. To this end, in 2020, they held a writing competition called the Brampton Writer’s Guild Open Competition, and out of that came an anthology of 26 stories called “Meet Me at the Four Corners: A Brampton Writers’ Guild Anthology” by Ken Puddicombe, Michael Joll, Raymond Holmes, Cherry Narula, Lynda Brunelle, Rena Flannigan and Mark Blair.

“I’d like recognition of MiddleRoad’s work in the community,” said Puddicombe. “And the ability to continue working with authors and publish their work.”