The 2nd Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize is open for entries from April 10 to May 15, 2019. Entries can be submitted by a publisher or publishing organization of any kind as well as directly by the author. The grand winner will be announced at the award ceremony to be held in late September.
The Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize was formally launched in 2018 by Blancpain, the fine watchmaking brand from Switzerland, and The Imaginist, one of the most influential publishing brands in China. The first literary prize accompanied by 300,000 yuan (approx. US$43,675) was won by Wang Zhanhei, a young novelist of the post-90s generation. The Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize, the first of its kind, aims to discover and encourage excellent Chinese authors under the age of 45. The Prize is committed to being impartial, authoritative and professional since its establishment.
The Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize, an important and formalized honor that recognizes contemporary young authors, in an effort to establish a reward system independent of the commercial market.
Yan Lianke, one of the judges, said during the selection process of the 1st Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize: "A serious, formal, and continuing awards program for young authors in China simply did not exist, hence the need for its creation. I think this award will certainly serve to fill this gap in terms of rewarding literary creation in China and will continue to do so." Judge Tang Nuo said when talking about his expectations surrounding the award: "Great literature increasingly needs a reward system that is independent of the commercial market, as the content of such literature may run counter to and even be antithetical to market forces. At this point, we need another way. Literary prizes can play such a role, saving some books from the increasingly powerful and decisive force of the market."
Breaking the status quo while creating other opportunities and possibilities for young writers is the original intention of the Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize. Literature is a ritual of life introspection and the advent of the literary prize for young authors is a vehicle by which dedicated and persistent writers can be recognized.
Blancpain and The Imaginist jointly set up the rules selecting who would be included in the initial longlist and in the follow-up shortlist in accordance with international practices, as well as the diversity in the composition of the jury and the announcement of the first prize winner at the awards ceremony, in a move to ensure the impartiality and professionalism of the selection, while making the prize something of importance and something to be treated with respect.
Both Blancpain and The Imaginist said that the ultimate meaning of the prize is "connection", in the sense of connecting the author's long and lonely road of creativity with the possibility of a successful future, connecting creators of different generations, connecting writers and readers while, at the same time, connecting China and the world. The connection begins with Blancpain's and The Imaginist's shared values: persistence, quality and transparency.
Blancpain, the 284-year old creator of mechanical timepieces, is loyal to its tradition of innovation, becoming the most vibrant maker of prestigious top-quality timepieces and tenaciously abiding to the principle of "never a second-class product". Blancpain has been an advocate of cultural projects for many years, with the aim of creating opportunities and platforms for talented, thoughtful and persistent young individuals from different walks of life. The Imaginist, one of the most influential and forward-looking cultural brands in China, has always been committed to an ideal society and has kept an open mind when it comes to the world's diversity and complexity, enabling the existence of more possibilities. The Imaginist is not only a publisher dedicated to nourishing the minds of generations of readers, but also a dynamic community.
A jury roster that brings new judges on board each year has become the tradition as well as a highlight of the Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize.
The jury is the most important element that differentiates this prize from others like it. The composition of the jury reveals the dedication and determination of the Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize committee to deliver something truly meaningful to the authors that have taken the trouble to make a submission. Inclusion of professional authors, critics, scholars, creators of other art genres and literary editors in the jury shows the diversity. In addition, a jury roster that brings new judges on board each year has enabled genuine thought leadership, while complying with the basic principles of impartiality, authoritativeness and professionalism. In addition, the Prize creates a social platform where well-established authors can communicate with and encourage the emerging authors.
The jury of the second Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize includes Dai Jinhua, Huang Ziping, Jia Zhangke, Lu Nei and Zhang Dachun. In addition to completing the selection process, the judges will share their opinions on literature, creation, art and other topics.
Dai Jinhua is a Peking University Professor of Humanities, doctoral advisor and director of the Center for Film and Cultural Studies at Peking University.
Huang Ziping is a former editor of Peking University Press, lecturer in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Peking University and a Honorary Professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Hong Kong Baptist University. His representative works include The Imp of a Contemplative Old Tree and The Narration in "Huilan". Huang Ziping, Chen Pingyuan, and Qian Liqun first proposed the concept of "Chinese literature of the twentieth century" in 1985.
Jia Zhangke is a famous Chinese film director, producer and writer. His representative works include the films Ash is Purest White, Still Life and Xiao Wu and the book series Jiaxiang I and II and Jia Zhangke's Notes on Films.
Lu Nei is a renowned novelist. His representative works include Young Babylon, Mercy and The Flower Street Happenings. He has won awards and honors including the Chinese Literature Media Award-Best Novel of the Year, the Chinese Figure of the Year from Southern People Weekly and the Writer of the Year from GQ Chinese version.
Zhang Dachun is an acclaimed writer and calligrapher. He has won many Chinese literature awards. His representative works include non-fiction As One Family, Knowing Your Chinese Characters, Wen Zhang Zi Zai, Interpretation of the Origins of Chinese Characters, as well as his fictional Li Bai in the Tang Dynasty and "Season" series.
Now accepting entries, with the grand winner to be announced in September.
Qualified applicants for the Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize are authors under the age of 45 and who have published works in Simplified Chinese. The Prize consists of 300,000 yuan to be provided to the grand winner with the purpose of giving the recipient the time and space to focus on his or her writing. Entries are restricted to novels of all themes, including pure literature, crime novels, detective stories and science fiction. Entries can be submitted by an author, a publisher or any kind of publishing organization. Publishers/publishing organizations can submit up to two works, one for each of two authors that they represent, while the author can submit one of his or her own works.
Entries must be works published between May 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019. The deadline for submission is May 15. On August 1, the review committee will release a shortlist of entries, consisting of two to three nominations from each member of the committee. Then, on September 1, the committee will vote for a final list of 5 candidates. The final winner will be announced at the award ceremony to be held in late September.
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