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The 2024 Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize is now calling for entries

The 2024 Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize is now calling for entries

This year's theme: Where lies the Originality in Chinese Literature?

BEIJING, May 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 15, 2024, the seventh Blancpain – Imaginist Literary Prize was officially launched. From now until May 15, the organizing committee will accept submissions from publishers, publishing companies or authors themselves. The final winners will be announced at the award ceremony in October. The young writer who wins the first prize will receive a bonus of 300,000 yuan. The finalists will receive the Young Friend of Blancpain award, a certificate for the finalist's work, and a bonus of 20,000 yuan to support their creative efforts and to encourage young writers to continue their work.


The Literary Prize is an "impartial, authoritative and professional" award in the field of Chinese literature that aims to discover and encourage outstanding young writers under the age of 45. The co-sponsors, Blancpain and the Imaginist, continue on their quest to convey a simple but meaningful message to the public: "Reading makes time more valuable."

As every year, the 2024 Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize has brought together a new team to serve as the members of jury. By doing so, the prize maintains the diversity and high caliber of the judging team by assembling many important and iconic figures in the field of Chinese literature and culture. This year's jury lineup brings together Joan Chen, Lo Yi-chin, Shuang Xuetao, Xu Zidong and Zhang Dinghao (in alphabetical order).

Theme of the 2024 Blancpain - Imaginist Literary Prize: Where lies the Originality in Chinese Literature?

Every year, the Literary Prize shines a spotlight on a theme that captures the essence of creativity or the zeitgeist, inviting writers and like-minded individuals to delve into its intricacies for a collective exploration and discussion.

As the clock ticks into 2024, the saying "When in doubt, learn from artificial intelligence (AI)" has evolved from a fleeting joke into a bona fide, albeit intermittent, aspect of our daily routine. The streets are adorned with billboards, subtly enhanced by a growing array of virtual voices. The sixty-second AI-generated videos flow gracefully, revealing diverse perspectives with unparalleled precision. AI's involvement in the creation of novels, even winning literary accolades, has sparked widespread discussion. The subject of AI has emerged as an inescapable and profoundly interwoven thread in our conversations.

Yet, herein, we do not aspire to propagate the "threats of AI," nor do we endeavor to delve into the myriad applications of AI tools. Rather, the rapid evolution of AI, akin to a polished mirror, offers us an unparalleled opportunity to introspect upon our own existence:

If the intricate tapestry of human thought and judgement, woven from the threads of history and personal experience, finds itself overshadowed by the vast reach of big data, then what truly qualifies as "original" work? And amidst this digital deluge, does a spark of human "creation" remain, unquenchable and irreplaceable? How much of our understanding of the world and our place within it is derived from acquired knowledge, and how much springs forth from the wellspring of "our" creativity? If each human soul is merely a contingent creation, are we perhaps destined to forever wander in the shadows of "originality," never truly embracing it as our own?

-- Literature, ever attuned to the pulse of "man" and "the world," cannot divorce itself from the depths of "the self"; indeed, these themes are ever-present in its eternal quest for meaning and understanding.

In the realm of literary creation, one might inquire:

What defines the "originality" of what we call "original literature"? Does it arise from a sense of autonomy, a break with precedent, or a singular bond? Is it the spark of perpetual self-renewal or the embodiment of vitality? Must it be inherently "new," grounded in a fresh phenomenon, identity, or subject matter, expressed through a novel style, language, or rhetoric? How does this originality intersect with the venerable literary traditions and paradigms? How does it dance with the pulse of contemporary society? As "creativity" transforms into a commodity, are the prevalent forms and topics reflections of our societal concerns, or mere replicas generated by the relentless churn of big data? In the tapestry of a literary work, which thread is most vital: authenticity, uniqueness, or completeness? Are they all necessary, or is one paramount? Is 'originality' in our current evaluation system overvalued? Or is it being lightly attributed?

As human subjectivity is increasingly called into question, the moment has perhaps arrived to reflect on the imperative of originality through the stronghold of literature: in what manner can we aspire to be "authentic individuals," strive towards a "novel world," and thereby, reclaim a "genuine literary terrain"?

Jury of the 2024 Blancpain - Imaginist Literary Prize

Joan Chen, actress, film director, screenwriter, and writer. She starred in films like Little Flower, The Last Emperor, and Red Rose White Rose, and directed films such as Autumn in New York, Her, and English. She is also the author of Catfish (forthcoming).

Lo Yi-chin, writer. His representative works include Surname of the Moon, And Now She Remains in You, My Future 2nd Son's Memory about Me, The Western Xia Hotel, and Daughter, among others.

Shuang Xuetao, novelist. He has published a collection of short stories, including Moses on the Plain, The Aviator, and The Hunter; full-fledged novels like Silent Age, Tianwu Shouji, and Winged Ghost; and a collection of miscellaneous essays, The Black Sheep Among White Sheep.

Xu Zidong, Professor Emeritus of the School of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong and Chair Professor of East China Normal University - Zijiang Program. He is the author of New Theory on Yu Dafu, Reading Eileen Chang, Rereading Lu Xun, Xu Zidong on Modern Chinese Literature, and Rereading the Chinese Novel of the 20th Century. He has been a resident guest on talk shows such as "Behind the Headlines With Wen Tao" and "Yuanzhuo Pai".

Zhang Dinghao, literary critic and poet. He has published numerous collections of poetry and essays, such as Ji Jian Jun Zi and Mengzi Dufa, among many others.

About the Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize

The Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize, co-founded by the prestigious Swiss watchmaker Blancpain and China's foremost publishing brand Imaginist, is the first accolade to be jointly established by a commercial brand and a publishing house, with the goal of identifying and supporting talented young writers under 45. Since its inception, the Literary Prize has upheld the principles of impartiality, authority, and professionalism, steadfastly maintaining these standards as its cornerstone.

Engagement of the members of the latest generation just entering adulthood is always a key indicator that determines the future of the world of literature. In the field of literary creation, talented young authors are always seeking an opportunity, while publishing platforms are looking for potential authors, and, at the same time, aim to attract more attention and garner more engagement. Many contemporary classical authors were discovered and recognized in their youth, as literary awards specifically designated for up and coming authors were available to them. For example, Naipaul, Coetzee and Kazuo Ishiguro all won the Man Booker Prize in their youth, and went on to earn the Nobel Prize in Literature at a later stage in their writing careers. Renowned Japanese authors, among them, Shusaku Endo, Kenzaburo Oe and Ryu Murakami, were each recipients of the Akutagawa Prize in their youth. In today's world, literary creation is a lonely and long road for young authors. The literary prize is designed to create a future that gives authors the space to focus on the creation of their works just as calligraphers are given the space and time to practice their craft.

Imaginist, the most influential publisher in China, has been dedicated to discovering the best authors who write in Chinese, offering an opportunity for thoughtful words to be published, while imagining another possibility for books. Works by Mu Xin, Kenneth Pai Hsien-yung, among others, have become even more valuable with the passage of time, nourishing the emotional life for generations of readers. Imaginist has, for a long time, been focused on publishing both the literary classics alongside the works of some of the most dynamic and thoughtful young authors who care about the human condition through the diverse collection of works that they have created with their open-minded insights. There's always great literature out there to be discovered, and the best of it always pushes the boundaries and explores new horizons. That's the core idea behind what Imaginist strives for in literature.

Bearing the identity mark of Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie (MDHH), Blancpain is a truly luxury watchmaking brand. For Blancpain, a creator of classic timepieces, watchmaking is as much a result of enduring love as writing. Since its establishment in 1735, Blancpain has ushered in the age of branded watchmaking. Over the past 289 years, navigating the ever-changing tides of time and numerous historical junctures, Blancpain has steadfastly upheld its brand philosophy of solely crafting mechanical watches and maintaining unwavering quality standards, considering MDHH as its eternal passion. This devotion resonates deeply with authors' dedication to literature and their pursuit of creating classic works, with a shared purpose. Moving forward, Blancpain sees literature as an extension of time - this is Blancpain's take on literature.

Call for Entries

Requirements:

Entries must be in Simplified Chinese, published as a standalone volume between 1 May 2023 and 30 April 2024, exclusively in mainland China. All novels or collections written in Chinese are eligible for submission. Collections comprising multiple works by different authors or anthologies will not be considered. Short story collections must be first-time publications and should not include stories that have appeared in other published novels by the same author.

The entry age limit is set at 45 years old or younger, calculated as of the author's age at the time of his or her work's initial publication. The publication date refers to the first-print date indicated on the copyright page, and reprinted editions are ineligible for this award.

How to Register

Entries can be submitted either by publishing entities (publishers or publishing houses) or directly by individual authors.

For publisher recommendation:

If the submission is made by a publishing entity (publisher or publishing company), the recommending unit must compile a list of the recommended works in an official letter, fill out the "Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize Recommendation Form," affix the official seal (download the recommendation form here), and submit it along with five copies of the work's sample to the Jury Office. Each unit is limited to nominating two works, and explicit consent from the author must be obtained prior to submission.

For author submission:
For self-nominations, authors must fill out the "Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize Recommendation Form," sign it and attach a copy of their personal ID, along with five copies of the work's sample to the Jury Office. Each author is limited to submitting one work for consideration.

Please note that the submission deadline for this year's Prize is 15 May 2024, based on the delivery date stamped by the courier or postmark.

In addition to the paper materials mentioned earlier, kindly submit the electronic version of your work in PDF format, along with the front cover and a three-dimensional book cover (excluding the waistband, JPEG file not exceeding 5MB), and the electronic "Recommendation Form" as a WORD document to the designated email address. Upon receipt, the Jury Office will confirm your submission for evaluation via email. Please note that sample books will not be returned.

The Jury Office reserves the right to disqualify any organization or person who is found to be ineligible to participate in the competition.

Receiving Address

Address: Blancpain – Imaginist Literary Prize Jury Office, Building 26, Xinghua Dongli, Hepingli, Dongcheng District, Beijing

Postcode: 100013

Tel: 010-84255532 (ext. 8096)

Email for Submission: BLANCPAIN-IMAGINIST@imaginist.com.cn

Rules

  1. Throughout the evaluation process, the organizing committee respects the autonomy of the jury and entrusts them with the sole discretion to determine the shortlist and final award recipients.
  2. All jury members are required to read all the entries for the year.
  3. Entries nominated by any jury member will be considered for inclusion on the longlist.
  4. All judges will thoroughly examine the nominated works multiple times. At the shortlist evaluation meeting, they will collectively score, discuss, and vote, ultimately selecting the top five works for the shortlist.
  5. The jury will deliberate during the morning session of the award ceremony to determine the recipient of the year's first prize.

Stay tuned

On 1 August, the Jury Office will unveil the longlist, compiled from two or three initial candidates proposed by each jury member.

On 13 September, the Jury Office will announce the shortlist, determined by the five nominations made by a majority vote of the jury.

The final winner (1) will be announced at the Award Ceremony scheduled in October.

For further details on the selection criteria and the progress of the prize, you can keep track by visiting the official website of the Prize at http://www.ilixiangguo.com/literary.html.

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