College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
A Showcase for Aspiring Writers - City Literary Awards 2020

Organised by the Department of Chinese and History (CAH) of the City University of Hong Kong to enhance Chinese creative writing standard of the younger generation in Hong Kong, “City Literary Awards 2020” is now open for entries until 24 July 2020. 

The competition is divided into three categories: prose, novel and poetry, and all welcome submissions from secondary school and tertiary institution students. For each of the six groups, a champion, a first runner-up and a second runner-up will be selected by professional judging panels. Each of the 18 top prize winners will receive a cash prize, a trophy and a certificate, and will be arranged to join the “Walking with Writers” tour in Tokyo in July 2020. During the trip, they will visit, together with two Hong Kong writers, a list of former residence of famous authors and literary museums, and meet professors of literature and contemporary writers at Tokyo University and Waseda University. “Like Hong Kong, Tokyo is a highly globalised city. But it is also a place that nurtured literary legends like Natsume Sōseki (夏目漱石), Japan’s foremost modern novelist in the Meiji era; Yasunari Kawabata (川端康城) and Kenzaburō Ōe (大江健三郎), both Nobel laureates in Literature; and Haruki Murakami (村上春樹), an internationally acclaimed contemporary novelist. Exploring these literary places and comparing the similarities and differences of city literature in Tokyo and Hong Kong will expand participants’ literary horizon,” says Dr CHAN Hok-yin, Chairperson of the Organising Committee and Associate Professor of CAH. Apart from the top prizes, three awards of merit and up to three recommendation award winners will also be selected from each group.

Three talks and six workshops will be run to introduce the three different genres of creative writing. While the talks are open to the public, seats are limited for the workshops to ensure active interaction between the participants and the speakers, who are passionate local writers. 

According to Dr Chan, “City Literary Awards 2020” can be considered as the third and new stage of the development of CAH’s initiative to promote literature in Hong Kong. “Back in 1996 when I studied at CityU, there was a large-scale annual writing competition, but it was only for CityU students. In 2006, it was elevated to a public literature festival with writers from Mainland China and Taiwan invited as judges. Though the festival was discontinued in 2014, a micro novel competition was held in 2017 with nearly 1,000 entries received.” Following the success of the 2017 event, the organising committee of “City Literary Awards 2020” is ambitious to promote city literature to a broader public and engage more youngsters through various promotion networks.

As the saying goes, “you can fix anything but a blank page.” Once you start writing, you can edit it to make it a better piece. Otherwise, you would end up not writing down a single word. Dr CHAN gives some hints to help aspiring writers take the hardest first step, “Hong Kong is a place that has multiple facets. Not only is it an international financial hub, it is also a lively and ever-changing metropolis. Stories can set in when there is interaction between people, or when one rides on a tram or wanders around the old building in Hong Kong. By observing the people, the things and what’s happening around us, and experience the city’s culture, history and daily living, one may get inspired.” 

The series of activities and competition is supported by Tin Ka Ping Foundation and Mr Zhang Da Peng. Details and submission guidelines are available here, and information of the talks and workshops is available here. Act now!