Writing for Peace challenges young writers (ages 13-19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes.
In all divisions your work should attempt to:
Show day-to-day life. Show family relations and friendships. Show outside forces at work (weather, government/politics, social pressures, etc.) Avoid stereotypes and generalizations. Dig beneath the surface to explore common humanity and universal themes. All submissions (even fiction) should be about a real country or culture, although it could be a country that no longer exists. For example, you could choose to write a period piece that takes place between 1918 and 1992 about Czechoslovakia, or a fiction piece about Anatolia that takes place during the 13th century. The challenge is to research the pressures faced by your characters so that you are able to convey their point-of-view convincingly.
While there are different cultures within the man-made borders of our countries, and there is value in exploring those differences, the purpose of this challenge is to stretch as a writer and develop the empathy that not only leads to powerful writing, but a greater understanding and compassion between peoples. If you feel strongly that researching a culture within your borders would be a stretch for you, and beneficial to your writing development, then we will allow it. But be sure to give a thorough explanation of your decision.
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