Writing My City: Stories of Cape Town

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By Phophi Tshikovhi

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 4 of VARSITY News.

 

Cape Town is home to a plethora of voices- from young people to the elderly who have witnessed the city change into becoming what it is now. The rich, many-hued and often disparate parts of Cape Town and its diverse people is what inspired the ‘Writing My City’ competition.

 

Annually, the Open Book Festival runs a competition in partnership with public libraries and the City of Cape Town in which citizens can submit their stories that, if selected, will later be published in the Cape Town library book: Writing my City. This year, the competition runs from now up until 15 June 2019 where finalists will be selected and have their work published in the #WritingMyCity anthology that will be launched at the Open Book Festival in September 2019. The City of Cape Town attributes the initiation of this competition to the multiplicity of voices and the interest in reading the story of Cape Town from many people’s points of view.

 

Anyone can write and submit a story that was birthed from their experience of the city. With this competition, the City aims to provide a platform to celebrate, interrogate and deepen people’s understanding of who and what make Cape Town the place that it is. Secondly- it aims to increase the writing skills amongst unpublished individuals, especially those who are young. Thus, this is an excellent opportunity for people who would not otherwise see their work published. Not only does this develop aspiring writers, it also emphasises the importance of libraries in underprivileged communities and the power of the spoken word. There will be a print run of 400 copies; 80 will be given to contributors, 110 will go to library shelves, 50 will be given away as prizes, 40 will be given to Open Book Festival guests and 120 will be sold during the festival.

 

The selection criteria for the competition are as follows:

  • All applicants will need to submit stories that focus on an aspect of Cape Town in some way in English, isiXhosa or Afrikaans.
  • Entries in both prose and poetry will be accepted as well.
  • There is no age limit.
  • Stories must be limited to 1500 words.

For additional information about the competition please visit the Open Book Festival website. Pens out, head down and it’s all systems go!

 

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