The Khmer Literature Festival has kicked off a literary contest titled ‘Colourful Voices’. Open to everyone, from Buddhist monks, academics, and educators, to students and doctors, the competition invites all who enjoy writing to participate. Submissions are welcomed from July 10 through to September 10.

Cheng Ratana, the Khmer Literary Festival coordinator, told The Post that the contest is an open call to writers across generations to showcase their work. Remarkably, this marks the sixth time that such a contest has been held by the Khmer Literature Festival.

Ratana explained that the first and second competitions have seen their winners published, though the third, fourth and subsequent victors have not. Yet, plans are in motion to publish these other winners collectively in the future.

“We honour all of the published winners by naming them, and we uphold and respect their intellectual property rights. The publication also specifies which work belongs to whom, their ranking, and the year of the festival they participated in,” Ratana explained.

A Khmer Literature Festival press release said that participants can explore the voices currently resonating in society. These voices could stem from the natural world, human beings, animals or even the realm of the author’s imagination. It could also be the author’s own voice that has gone unheard or unnoticed.

The competition offers two categories: short stories and poetry. Short stories should be five to eight A4 pages in the Khmer OS Siem Reap font, size 12, with each entrant allowed to submit two pieces. Poems must not exceed three A4 pages in the same font and size, and again, two entries per contestant are permitted.

According to the press release, the competition seeks to inspire creativity rather than offer direct education. First-time participants, who have neither previously entered a contest nor been published, are particularly encouraged. Submissions must be proof-read and ready for spelling and sentence editing. The author’s name, along with a phone number or email, should also be provided.

“We greatly encourage fresh submissions, especially from those who haven’t won previously. Works not complying with the above conditions will be automatically disqualified,” Ratana emphasised.

Attractive prizes await the winners: 800,000 riel ($200) and a certificate of appreciation for first place, 600,000 riel and a certificate for second place, and 400,000 riel plus a certificate for third place. Winners will also receive invitations to the sixth Khmer Literature Festival.

Submissions for the competition can be made either through or via the Khmer Literature Festival’s Facebook page.