Who could forget the beautiful artwork Gaia by Luke Jerram that Sense of Place presented during Arcadia. An illuminated globe seven metres in diameter showing the earth as seen from the moon.

You could see Gaia in 2022 at places like Oerol, in the Ir. D.F. Wouda pumping station and in the Broere Church in Bolsward. In February 2023, the artwork will hang in Exeter Cathedral, the British city that, like Leeuwarden, is a UNESCO City of Literature. Part of the artwork’s programme is The Gaia Papers project and, for this, you could write a story or poem!

The Gaia Papers is a printed and digital magazine that will be published in Exeter at the end of February 2023. Alongside stories by local writers, audience photos and creative pieces by local youth, there will also be literary contributions from other cities of Literature. In so doing, Exeter City of Literature is collating worldwide perspectives on their theme of Care, Connection, and Celebration.

Who can take part?

In collaboration with Arcadia, Leeuwarden UNESCO City of Literature is holding a writing competition for the submission to The Gaia Papers. Anyone living in Friesland can take part, regardless of whether you have published lots or nothing, still go to school or are an adult, write in Frisian, Dutch or English.

What are the conditions?

Your work needs to meet the following conditions:

  • Your story or poem must be about the environment and/or the climate or climate action, and cover the theme Care, Connection, and Celebration
  • The maximum word count is 500
  • Your work can be in Frisian, Dutch or English (Leeuwarden UNESCO City of Literature will ensure that Frisian or Dutch entries are translated into English)
  • Your entry must be new work and not previously published
  • Entries must be submitted by Saturday 21 January at the latest (see below)
  • Cities of Literature Exeter and Leeuwarden as well as Arcadia may publish the entry free of royalties although of course always with the author explicitly named

What is the prize?

  • The winning entry will be published by Exeter UNESCO City of Literature in The Gaia Papers. This is a printed magazine that will be sold in local book shops and a digital magazine to be distributed for free online
  • The winning entry will be published on leeuwardencityofliterature.nl in three languages (Frisian, Dutch and English). When there are enough entries of sufficiently high standard, the second and third best entries will also be published in the same way
  • The number 1 entry will be awarded a prize of € 250 and receive the translations of the piece

How can you take part?

  • Submit your story or poem before midnight on Saturday 21 January using the following link
  • You will need to complete a number of fields in the entry form and upload your story or poem in Word format. The compulsory fields are: name, date of birth, place of residence, telephone number and a short biography of 50 words max.
  • The entries will be judged in the week of 23 January by a professional jury.
  • The winner will be announced by 1 February
  • The entry will be published at the end of February and from that moment, the writer may also share their entry and/or The Gaia Papers

We wish you much writing inspiration and greatly look forward to receiving your entry!

photo: ThomasVaer Fotografie