Here’s some news from John Dougill, and Writers in Kyoto (WiK):
The judges of the first WiK Writing Competition are delighted to announce the winners, as listed below. The competition was on the theme of Kyoto, with a maximum of 300 words. Each of the three prize winners will receive a small gift from the Kyoto Convention and Visitors Bureau, in addition to which the First Prize will feature in the forthcoming Writers in Kyoto Anthology. The Local Prize Winner will receive a gourmet meal for two at Tadg’s Irish Bar and Restaurant in Kiyamachi, Kyoto.
* First Prize “Kimono Memories”
Name: Peter Jonathan Mallett
* Second Prize “Nippon”
Name: Jesse Efron
* Third Prize “To live in Kyoto”
Name: Richard Steiner
* Local Prize Winner “In the spring. summer, autumn and winter – Colors in Kyoto”
Name: Mayumi Kawaharada
The judges wish to express their appreciation to all those who entered, and the high quality of submissions made the final decision difficult. Indeed, each of the judges chose a different piece as their favourite! In the end though consensus was reached as to the outstanding pieces. (It should be noted that the judging process was done on a completely anonymous basis throughout.)
The entries came from a surprisingly wide range of places. Nearly half were submitted from different parts of Japan, not just within Kyoto but such areas as Miyazaki and Fukuoka. Others came Malaysia, Kathmandu, Philippines and Montreal. As it happened, however, the winners are all resident in Japan – two in Kyoto, one in Kyotango, and one in Kobe.
In form the entries ranged from a single haiku to essays, pieces of fiction, poems, conversations and personal impressions. By and large, the prose was more successful; some of the poetry was too slight, some too obscure. The best pieces were those that got under the skin of Kyoto life, and this was the case with the overall winner which used the Nishijin connection with kimono to reveal something of the secrets that lie behind the courtesies of Kyoto manners.
The one surprise was that some applicants thought a single haiku would carry enough weight to win a prize. Unless you’re a Basho or a Buson, this seems improbable. However, one of the prizewinners did string a series of haiku together to convey images of Kyoto throughout the year, and this amounted to a substantial and impressive portrayal of seasonal changes. An alternative approach, which no one attempted, would be to write a poetic essay-cum-haiku in a genre known as haibun.
Our thanks to the sponsors, the Kyoto Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tadg’s Irish Bar and Restaurant, and for the backing from the International Community Center (kokoka). I’d also like to publicly thank Karen Tawarayama in particular for facilitating the whole process, as well as Tadg McLoughlin and Shigenori Shibata for acting as judges. Finally, thanks to all those who took the time to enter the competition. Your entries made the whole thing worthwhile, and each one was appreciated.
We are eager to build on this year and make next year’s competition even better, so if you have any suggestions or feel you could contribute in any way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, John Dougill, at dougill<at mark>mbox.kyoto-inet.or.jp.