The finale of our writing competition is closing in – but fear not, there is still time to participate. You have until the 13th of April to send in your text.

During the past weeks we have received some excellent questions about the rules and background of this competition. Some came from the audience, while others have occupied the thoughts of our team members. In this article, we will answer some of them. Thank you for these excellent questions, for all who brought forward their thoughts!

Do not hesitate to contact us if the question you are currently contemplating is not on the list. Leave us a message on social media or via email (cityoflit@kuhmo.fi). No matter what worries you have, we will solve them together.

The picture shows an old map. Placed on top of it are a pair of glasses, notebooks and a pencil, and some photos. The text reads: Jutun Juuri - Root of the Chatter Writing Competition. What does your mother language mean to you?

Q: How do I know that the jury has received my text – will I get a notification?

A:  Yes, you will. Once your text reaches us, we will send you an email starting with “Dear writer, thank you for taking part in Kuhmo City of Literature’s Jutun Juuri – Root of the Chatter Writing Competition.

If you have not received a message like this within three business days after sending your work in, send us a DM on our social media channels. Let’s make sure that your text gets there in time.

Q: How do I send my text to the jury?

A: By sending a MS Word file, or a scanned version of your text to cityoflit@kuhmo. If you do not already have an email address, you can create a free one via Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo.

Q: In what language can I write my text?

A: We need two language versions of your entry: one written in English, and a direct translation in the writer’s mother language. If your mother language is English, write one version using the standard form – and use your local dialect for the other one.

To make this competition as fair as possible, we do require two language versions from each and every participant.

Q: I do not own a computer. Can I write my entry by hand?

A: If all other options are unavalable to you, yes you can. Write you entry in neat handwriting that is easy to read. Scan it, and send it to us. This can often be done at your local library.

Q: Do I need to write my text using a specific genre: poetry, essay, or a short story?

A: Great news! All of these are accepted.

Be mindful that you answer all of the questions, using the languages mentioned in the call. Stick to the word limit. However, the way you construct your text is completely up to you. Get creative, and surprise us!

Q: I am interested in participatng, but my English is not that good. Can I write the text in my mother language, and ask someone else to translate it?

A: The short answer would be no. The idea of this competition is that participants write both versions by themselves. But even if writing in a foreign language worries you, do not hesitate to take part.

Clear structure, rich vocabulary and the use of full sentences will bring you points, but grammar is not the our most important criterion when it comes to scoring. Think of this as an exercise in creative writing, and putting your thoughts to words – as well as a good opportunity to practise your language skills.

Q: Do I need to use external sources? Can I summarize another writer’s text?

A: No, that is not necessary. We are interested in hearing your very own houghts and experiences, and thus summarizing writer’s work is not what we are looking for.

Q: I am very interested, but busy with schoolwork. Why should I participate?

A: Taking part in a writing competition is very beneficial. Good writing skills will come in handy when it comes to work, studying, or applying for jobs. Also, taking part in an international competition is a good addition to your CV when you appy for summer jobs. And if you are interested in writing a book, it is helpful to bring different types of texts to public attention.

If you are a student, this is good ractice for exams: the length of the entry is close to the word count of an essay. And while the topic is well defined, you can interprete it in various ways.

And the prizes are none too bad, either. 400€ will go a long way when it comes to everyday expenses. It will help you cover the costs of hobbies, or a summer vacation. Whether you are a student or working, this sum can hel you a lit if you budget it carefully.

And finally: Some questions we were pondering while we planned this project.

When our team developes different projects, we try to think ahead and figure out what kind of questions we will get later on. Here are a few examples – answers included.

Q: Why mother language is he theme of this competition, and not some other current topic?

A: We wanted to pick a theme that everybody has some experience in. Our aim is to encourage writers to look at a familiar thing from a different point of view. In addition to this, languages and the differences between them, and their power of uniting people are themes that influece our work greatly.

One can say that languages are an important part of our everyday life. We write messages, and chat with friends and family. When we listen to music, we interprete the lyrics. And if one listens carefully, the way one speaks can reveal one’s home region, and plenty of other things. One might not think about the meaning of language all that often, but it is a fascinating subject.

Q: Ai technology is becoming increasingly common. Why is it banned in this competition?

A: It is very true that AI tech is becoming more and moe opular. However, there are many valid reasons for our rule.

One of our key responsibilities as a City of Literature is to encourage writing and reading. Were are not just looking for a good text, but critical thinking skills and captivating way of describing one’s thoughts and experiences, too. Machines can do a lot, but only you know what you feel.

From our perspective, writing is a skil that can be learned, jus like swimming or cooking. The more you practice, the better you get. We want to encourage you to try creative writing, and competitions are a good way of gaining experience.

If the word count feels large, try to divide it ino smaller parts. Sometimes it helps if you plan the structure ahead.

We welcome all kinds of writers to join in! We hope to see your text among the entries.