CLA organizes a second writing contest in Khmer language

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Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) opens its second annual creative writing competition. Photo provided

Although diversity and inclusion are widely celebrated in today’s world, discrimination still exists. Writers, artists and thinkers intend to explore this through writing, in a competition that has just been announced.

Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) said entries are open for its second annual creative writing competition. The top four entrants will win cash prizes in the upcoming cultural season 2023, which will be held under the theme “Your Gender, Our Gender”.

Po Sakun, Network Knowledge and Policy Program Coordinator at CLA, revealed the purpose of the format, “We want to encourage writers to embrace their creative style and imagination.”

“We want to contribute to the promotion of Khmer literature and writing. Works can be novels, short stories and poems – traditional or modern, with illustrations. The contest is open to anyone who likes to write freely and wants to engage with a broader topic,” he added.

The application deadline for the competition is September 30. You can submit your application at the CLA office on Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh, or email them to [email protected]garts.org.

Applicants must complete an application form and provide information about their experience, including any published or translated works.

The four winning writers will receive a $500 grant and the opportunity to increase their audience and participate in cultural tours in the province.

Applications can be made in Khmer or English for K-Visa holders. If the work presented is in English or another foreign language, the candidate will have to translate the text into Khmer. Winners and shortlisted applicants will be notified during the second week of October.

Lay Chhunyi, one of the top four in last year’s contest, said, “As an imaginative person, I’m not always comfortable expressing myself because I’m not sure people will understand. My minds. CLA completely changed her mind after winning the creative writing contest. I’m really happy to have finally read my imagination for you all.

“Creative writing gives me the freedom to create my own story. I can use my imagination to create something new, unique and entertaining, while the story retains its educational value. It was a literary contest where I felt like I was writing my own story rather than trying to please the judges,” said another finalist, Chea Tonghay,

“Creative writing allows writers to think outside the box without worrying about composition rules, while retaining the meaning, image and essence of the story,” added Kanya Pop Ane, another participant among the top four in the 2022 competition.

“Of course, we must preserve the literature of our ancestors, but that does not mean that we must not develop it. That’s what creative writing does. By giving authors the freedom to imagine and invent stories different from what is customary, many new and unique literary works have emerged,” he added.

CLA has been holding its cultural season celebrations since 2018. The season is a collection of performing arts, performances, workshops, exhibitions and lectures presented over two to three months in Phnom Penh. Each year, some of the exhibits are selected for a four-province tour in March.

The target audience is young people, especially university students. Each year, a theme for the Cultural Season program is created and used as a starting point for artists to create new dances, operas and music.

The CLA team also uses this theme to guide the design and organization of engaging programs that aim to inspire audiences to discuss and express their own views on the theme.

The theme “Your Kind, Our Kind” can be interpreted in two distinct parts. The phrase “your species” is often heard when an individual expresses themselves or expresses an idea that stands out or differs from others. “Our gender”, on the other hand, is used when a group of people accepts a person who has common interests.

Combined together, “Your Kind, Our Kind” can be interpreted as an isolated individual from a clique of people who only accept people like them, but can also mean that even if someone is different, they are still part of it. of the group.

Moreover, it can reflect society’s views on individuals: are they independent bodies or are they part of the same body? What problems do individuals face when they deviate from social norms?

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