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2022-08-28 12:28:43

Sixth Tone is pleased to announce the winners of the China Writing Contest.

Selected by a prestigious panel of judges, including British food writer Fuchsia Dunlop, American journalism professor Howard W. French, American writer Peter Hessler, Chinese writer Qian Jianan, Dutch researcher Tabitha Speelman, Chinese editor Wu Qi, Chinese anthropologist Xiang Biao, and Chinese documentary filmmaker Zhou Yijun, the winning stories reflect the diversity of contemporary China and Chinese lives around the world.

To watch the award ceremony, click here. The full list of winners can be found below.

Here’s what some of our judges had to say about the contest. Their comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Peter Hessler:

“One of the many difficult things about writing is that nobody asked a writer for his or her first story. Editors don’t spend their time contacting random young people in hopes that they can write something good. It’s entirely up to the writer and it requires both confidence and faith. Why does anybody else care about your story? You have to be the first one to care.

Another difficult thing about writing is that much of the important development happens after a person has left school. Very few individuals are prepared to write really good stories when they are in high school or college. They may have an interest in writing and they may be learning, but there is a key maturity that comes from experience and from adult life. So the young writer not only has to motivate herself, but she also has to educate herself. And she has to be patient.

It’s important to read stories and books that you admire, and you should try to figure out the techniques at work and do everything possible to get your own writing out there. Submit stories for contests, for publications, for anything. I want to thank Sixth Tone for sponsoring this contest and for doing such a great job in attracting submissions. This is a difficult time for people who write about China. And encouragement and support are critical.”

Xiang Biao:

“All the texts that I read, many of them have no drama at all. They tell you stories in a very calm, matter-of-fact way. But they appreciate the nuances, the contradictions, and very subtle, genuine, deep human feelings. For that, I appreciate them very much, and I feel I learned a great deal.”

Qian Jianan:

“The first impression I got is that the subjects are very diverse. The protagonists, they live in China, they live in Singapore, they live in the United States, and they could live anywhere in the world. And that says something about the contemporary generation because Chinese people leave their footprints all over the world. So, I really enjoyed that.

Everyone chooses a very smart perspective to tell their own stories. I also see people put a lot of effort into research, into interviews.

[The experience] gives me something to look forward to in a new generation of nonfiction writers.”

Sixth Tone is publishing stories eligible for the contest’s Reader Prize. Click here to read them.