New category added to CityU's fourth literary awards

Ellen Chan

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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is hosting the City Literary Awards, a writing competition now welcoming entries. Besides prose, short story and poetry, a new category, Art and Cultural Criticism, has been added to encourage young writers to convey their opinions and insights into local art and culture. All Hong Kong and Macau residents aged between 15 and 24 are eligible to submit an entry.

The competition's theme is "Rhapsodies of time". Dr Ma Ka-fai, Assistant Director of the Chinese Civilisation Centre, said "rhapsodies" represented the essence of the city and was a perfect fit for the competition. "Rhapsodies is a word full of movement and this movement only occurs in a cosmopolitan city," said Dr Ma.

In relation to the new category, Dr Ma said the fast-paced lifestyle common to city living was a prolific incubator of art and culture. Critical prose can help a culture reexamine its development and priorities and as such is an important element within the culture of any city.

"Hong Kong lacks systematic art criticism and young people are also lacking a platform through which to express their thoughts on local art and culture. I hope that this new category encourages young writers to pay more attention to the relationship between Chinese and local films and local culture, and take the time to reflect on the local culture," said Dr Louisa Wei Shiyu, Assistant Professor of the School of Creative Media and an organising committee member of the City Literary Festival.

The winners will be selected by prominent writers and experts, including Ms Mao Jian, Mr Wang Meng, Mr Perry Lam, Mr Chang Ta-chuan, Ms Zhang Yihe, Mr Liu Wai-tong, Professor Liu Zaifu, Professor Joseph Lau Shiu-ming, Professor Cheng Chou-yu and Mr Tam Ka-ming.

Dr Ma said the City Literary Awards are highly regarded by society and all participants treasure the opportunity to participate. Dr Ma expressed his hope that the City Literary Festival could continue as an annual event and forge a tradition of contributing to the development of literature in Hong Kong.

There are three top prizes and merit awards for each category. The champion, runner-up and third placegetter in each category will receive $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000 respectively. The deadline for submission of entries is 6 February 2009 and results will be announced in May 2009. All winning entries will be published at the end of 2009.

The fourth City Literary Awards are hosted by CityU's Cultural and Sports Committee, the Chinese Civilisation Centre and the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Macao Foundation. It is sponsored by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation.

The competition is one of the events of the City Literary Festival and encourages youngsters to participate in creative writing and promotes the literary culture of Hong Kong and Macau. Well-known local and overseas writers will share their writing experience at a number of seminars in Hong Kong and Macau between 24 April and 27 April 2009. Details of the fourth City Literary Awards can be found at http://www.cityu.edu.hk/ctspc/literature/. For further information, please call 2788 8029.

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