Shakirah Bourne

 

Read more about  Shakirah      http://shakirahbourne.com

 

A division four athletic champion at Queen’s College she represented her school in athletics and was a member of the school’s Steel Orchestra and the Barbados National Youth Steel Orchestra.  After pIacing third in the Miss Queen’s College Pageant, Shakirah was invited to enter the ‘Miss Ayudar’ pageant which was a fund raiser for a little girl with aplastic anaemia and she won.

 

Shakirah continued her education at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus and in 2007graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management and Psychology with upper second class honours.

 

She joined the firm of Marcus Evans as a Production and Research Coordinator and during the two years there she completed a one year course in Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations at the UWI Open Campus and in 2008, she completed a one year course in Cinematic Screenwriting at the Barbados Community College (BCC).

 

In 2010, she won a National Development Scholarship to complete a Masters Degree in Cultural Management at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland and at the same time, she also studied Screen-writing at the University of Edinburgh.

 

While in Edinburgh, Shakirah was Project Assistant at Edinburgh Playhouse and on return home in 2011 worked as a Business Development Manager and as a Coordinator for ‘Youth-In Media Project’ at the Errol Barrow Creative Arts Centre in 2012 and took up part time lecturing in writing at the UWI.

 

“Despite any obstacles or unexpected challenges you may face, it is important to continue striving for your dreams”  Shakirah Bourne.

A part time lecturer, a script writer, film maker and story teller, Shakirah Bourne is a creative individual with boundless energy and a passion for writing.

 

She is the current owner of a freelance writing and editing company, ‘getWrite!’ and manages an online forum for struggling writers found at www.facebook.com/getwrite.

 

It probably all started from her love for reading and since the age of nine Shakirah was writing stories and today she writes mostly short fiction, but has branched into writing for magazines, copywriting and editing, writing scripts for ads and she has added film to that.

 

At the Christ Church Girls’ Primary School where she was a student, Shakirah performed well in English, but her Maths was a little shaky, but improved after she was made to learn her times tables.  At Queen’s College, she was involved in several activities and she revealed her secret for balancing activities with school work.  “I learnt from early that paying attention and learning in class was key to success and doing that, I never really had a problem".

 

Shakirah understood that in writing, it was the quality of work that matters and not even a pretty face can help if your work is poor.“Writing is a solitary career, and many times you will have clients and never meet them face to face, so looks really are not as important as the quality of your work.   A pretty book cover doesn't mean it will be a good book. You may attract a 'buyer' but not only won't they finish read the story, but they won't buy another edition.”

 

Stressing on the quality of work she added that, ”Building relationships is most important for a career, and to do that you need to have a quality product and a good attitude. You can't put lip gloss on either.” 

 

She was the winner of the 24 Hour Short Story Competition (Writer's Weekly) and she won a ‘UNICEF Award for Short Fiction which best represents the rights of a child, the ‘Barbados Manufacturers' Award for Short Fiction which best represents Bajan Culture.’

 

She placed second in the US Embassy Business Plan Competition and was a participant in the ‘Cropper Foundation Caribbean Writers Workshop’.  Some of her short fiction was selected to be performed at the ‘Ink Writers’ Festival in Newcastle, England and she has won several NIFCA awards and was published in the NIFCA Winning Words Anthology.

 

It was winning the ‘Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC) Focus Pitch Prize’ at the 2013 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival that overwhelmed the talented Barbadian.

 

The annual festival invites film-makers with Caribbean origins to submit an idea for a feature film and from that ten applicants are chosen to attend a workshop with a prestigious filmmaker, who was Julia Solomonoff from Argentina.

 

Five persons were selected to pitch their ideas to a public jury and a panel of esteemed judges from Hollywood, and the best pitch with the best idea to be developed would win TT$20 000 towards the development of the film and Shakirah was the 2013 winner.

 

Overwhelmed and excited, Shakirah went on to write the script for ‘PAY DAY’ after she was offered the opportunity and the film that has been showing at the Olympus Cinema for over seven weeks had great reviews and is expected to be filmed internationally.

 

Shakirah has also written scripts for an animated series for the UNDP and she has a number of projects as well as other films on which she is working.

 

Challenges however did not by pass the writer, who found it difficult to convince her family that writing was a worthwhile career.

 

I was one of the only artists in my family, and many of them could not understand why the only person to go to university, "the smart one" chose a career which does not guarantee financial security.  My mother was always there to help financially, and she attended my events, even though she never quite understood. Right now with PAYDAY in the cinema, they finally understand that "I'm not at home on the computer doing nothing".

 

Shakirah explains that there is more to writing than most people understand and she advices young people who want to write, to do their research first.

 

“Do your research. Understand that there are different forms of writing (copywriting, article writing, advertisements, novels, screenplays, radio dramas). See which ones you are best at/suit your style and specialise in those. Start volunteering on projects to build up a portfolio and market yourself (especially via social media) to get clients. 

 

 

This talented Barbadian woman who creates most of her stories while sitting on the beach with her laptop, while listening to the splashing of waves has a lot to offer her country and is a bright spark for the film industry in Barbados.