Poets and short story writers, are you interested in winning a boat cruise or a holiday away to one of our local lodges for a much needed break? Well here is your chance to use your writing for the side of good —the good of you! A local NGO, The Botswana Society for Human Development (BSHD) is running its first annual BSHD Tourism Fiction Award, though it says fiction they are also accepting submissions of poetry.
The objective of the contest is to market local tourism destinations so your short story should be set in one of our many lovely tourist hotspots. Maybe you want to write a sexy story set in Mowana Lodge or a murder mystery on the Chobe River. Get the creative cogs greased to come up with something top-notch. The submission guidelines warn that they expect you to have visited the place or to do research if you haven’t so that the destination is well-represented in your story. The organisers warn: “Tourism fiction is a genre of fiction that is written to generate tourism to specific areas. This is done by setting fictional stories in real attractions. Tourism fiction refers to modern works written to specifically promote tourism.”
For poetry, the guidelines say that they are looking for praise poetry (poko) about real tourist destinations in Botswana.
Submissions are accepted from the September 1 with the deadline on the September 30. Entries will be accepted from all Botswana residents. The submissions should be the writer’s original work and should not have been published before, even on the writer’s own blog or website. Short story entries should have a word count of between 1200-2000 words.
The entries should be a Word document, double spaced, in Times New Roman 12 point font. When submitting, it should be sent as an attachment to the email. In the body of the email, include a 100 word bio. On the submission you should include your full name, your email address and telephone number. Submissions will only be accepted in English.
The shortlisted entries (which will include ten short stories and five poems) will be published in the 2016 Share Botswana Tourism Anthology. Other prizes include Botswana branded gifts by Ina Lebe, accommodation at local hotels and lodges, tourist activities such as game drives, boat cruises and bird watching trips.
The shortlisted entries will be announced on the October 20 with the winners
For additional information check out the submission guidelines at their website. ( http://www.bshdngo.org/?project=first-annual-bshd-ngo-share-botswana-tourism-fiction-award)
A comment on our local writing competitions
I get many writers contacting me asking how they can get published, how to go about writing. It seems from my inbox that there are many aspiring writers out there, and yet, there have been at least two writing competitions in Botswana in the last year which have either not received enough entries to justify running the contest or have received entries of such a poor standard that not all prizes could be awarded.
What’s the problem? Where is the disconnect? All of these writers who contact me, why are you not putting in the effort to actually write? Here is an excellent opportunity to begin your journey.
Take your time. Think a bit about the sort of story that might be appropriate for a competition such as this. Think about places you have visited in the country, even in your own village where there might be yet to be discovered tourist attractions. Then write. Write and then let it sit a few days. Come back to it and read through it, edit what’s not working, add in what is missing. Let it sit again and then read it out loud to hear how it sounds. Then, when it is the best that you can do—send it off.
The worst that can happen is you win no prize, but you will have a new short story to continue working on to eventually send somewhere else. And most importantly, you would have started out on your writing journey. Come on folks, it is so dispiriting for the organisers of such contests when the entries are disappointing. Make sure that does not happen this time.