Writing Competition

03 Apr 2011 23:08 | Deleted user

Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

Writing competition in Brussels… Never thought to become a writer?
An Interview by Alessandra Zocca

Anne Randerson

Dr. Anne Randerson- founder and Managing Director of CROSS CULTURAL HORIZONS

PWI – Anne, you have created the “Foreign Affair - writing competition.” What is it about?

Anne Randerson – The “Foreign Affair”  writing competition is a joint initiative created by Caravan Press and (A)WAY magazine.
It targets expats – of any profession or nationality – willing to share their experiences in foreign countries. Stories must be mostly true experiences, but –of course – can be massaged and coloured with the author's creativity and humour… It is important to feel the “voice” of the author, to get involved in the story, to perceive the creativity and originality, the punch of the story…

The competition details are available on the (A)WAY magazine and Caravan Press websites (www.awaymagazine.be and www.caravanpress.eu), but I can briefly summarise the key requirements for you:

  • All entries must be original, unpublished prose of 1,500 words or fewer and written in English
  • The closing date for submissions is 15 June 2011
  • A panel of five judges will select the winning story. we are all women with expatriate backgrounds, either professional journalists or writers, and/or involved in cultural groups and organisations (Elena Bucciero, Helen Grant, Dr. Michelle Loewinger, Jo Parfitt and myself)
  • The winner of the competition will be notified in August 2011 and the winning entry will be published in the September/October edition of (A)WAY magazine and on www.awaymagazine.be and www.caravanpress.eu.
  • Prizes will be given to the top winners of the competition.

PWI – You are one of the founders of Caravan Press. Why caravan?  Tell me more, Anne, please, it sounds interesting…

Anne Randerson – Caravan Press, founded in 2010, is composed of a group of six expatriate professionals, who meet regularly to discuss writing in “The Caravan” at Cook and Book (a bookshop/restaurant located on the east side of Brussels).
Our mission is to inspire, invite and recognise creative writing and provide a platform for expatriates to share their stories with the world.
Actually, the day we decided on our name, we simply looked at the walls around us and it was evident. We were sitting in the caravan at Cook and Book!

The photo(**) is of the six founding members of Caravan Press:
Bena Persaud, Elizabeth Bostock, Anne Randerson, Olivia De Vos, Mimi Gibson and Brooke Peterson

PWI – What inspired you to organise a writing competition? Is it the first you have organised?
Anne Randerson – Yes, this is the first time we have organised a writing competition . Around two years ago, Elena Bucciero, the publisher of (A)WAY magazine, contacted me to see if I would like to help her magazine organise a writing competition, but I declined because I was too busy at that time. Last year, however, some of the students in my creative writing course at the American Women’s Club of Brussels – who are published writers now, but continue with my course – proposed to run a writing competition. So I contacted Elena, and that’s basically where the idea came from. We are doing this contest because we love to write, we want to share stories and we want to help others share their stories with the world.

PWI – Why have you chosen expats as a participant target group?
Anne Randerson – Because, when you live abroad, sometimes you don’t have a full time job – perhaps you followed your partner – and you need some way to relieve the stress of living in a foreign place. Culture shock is a great motivator to write, by the way. Besides, you have new ideas, you meet new people, you have plenty of opportunities to learn interesting things from the host culture, etc. We want people to have fun with this: it is mainly for their enjoyment. In Belgium we have many expatriates. A good handful of them sign up for my creative writing course each semester. By the way, expatriates living in other countries, not only in Belgium, and anyone who has been an expatriate in the past may also enter our competition.
In addition to being expats, participants must be 18 years or older, and there’s no upper age limit. My great-aunt was around 88 years old when she published her first book!

PWI – Why do you think people will be willing to participate?

Anne Randerson – Some people have always wanted to become a writer, but they never had the time or courage; they needed someone or something to push them. Some people simply like the thrill of entering contests. Some might be beginners, while others might be more advanced writers.  Many times writers lack confidence as well as motivation, so this competition can give them  a little bit of both:  motivation because participants have a deadline to finish their story, and confidence because if they win first prize, for example, they will be published and they can use this to promote their next piece of writing. 

PWI – Do you expect a majority of female participation in the contest?
Anne Randerson – We hope to have stories both from women and men. It would be nice if this could be fifty-fifty. I suppose that many expatriate workers might be busy at the office and will not have much time to send in their stories, while their partners might have a bit more time.

PWI – Anne, what about you?  Are you a writer?

Anne Randerson – Yes. I have published stories and articles in magazines, travel books and anthologies, mainly in the Unites States. In fact, two will be coming out this week in an ebook, published in Japan. Some people don’t know I’m a writer because I often use a pen name. I have spent the past six years writing a novel that is just about ready to send out to potential publishers. I also recently sent off a book proposal for my 454-page PhD dissertation on human lifestyle and sensitivity towards nature, which I wrote in Japan. Since my six years of research for this dissertation were carried out in Fukushima prefecture, and my work compares the way people in Japan and the West view nature, I think there might be some interest in the subject right now. If this book gets published, I really hope it will make a positive difference in the way we as humans view and treat our planet, both now and in the future.

      Photo of Dr. Randerson © Anne Randerson, all rights reserved
(**)Photo credits fot caravan picture © Olivia de Vos, all rights reserved
Dr. Anne Randerson, Ph.D., is founder and Managing Director of CROSS CULTURAL HORIZONS (*).
Originally from San Diego, California (USA) Anne relocated to Belgium 21 years ago, and has been an expatriate for over 25 years.
As an intercultural specialist, interpreter and university professor, Anne’s mission in life is to assist expatriates who, like herself, have undertaken the challenge of moving abroad to exciting countries. Anne has been teaching the “Creative writing for expatriates” course at the American Women’s Club of Brussels since 2008.
Anne Randerson is also a founding member of Caravan Press, a group of expatriate writers who met in Brussels.


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