Wachana prides itself in being a platform which empowers writers. We are a publishing brand which focuses on alternative literature and allows talented writers to see their work in print, following their own aesthetic and style. We embody three key brand values which are essentially the core of all functions we carry out at Wachana. These are freedom, innovation and facilitation.
We believe in giving our writers all the freedom they require to experiment with their work and craft masterpieces with their words, expressing themselves in raw, unfiltered emotion.
Innovation is the essence of our purpose, we strive to ensure that we maximise the use of technology and advanced marketing techniques to evolve as a brand.
We work as a consultation agency where all members are equipped with resources to build strategies and execute them. This is what enables facilitation as one of our brand values and makes us different from traditional publishers.
With these brand values in mind, along with the purpose of our establishment, the Write and Win competition was launched in the year 2020. This short-story competition was an opportunity for many young Sri Lankan story-tellers and authors to come forth and gain recognition for their work, while disrupting any language barriers as this bilingual competition opened opportunities for writers fluent in both Sinhala and English. Through this competition, many amateur writers were given the confidence and power to express themselves through their words and hone their skills to produce stories which covered grave topics with maturity, finesse and depth.
We received an overwhelming response of nearly 150 entries, and thus, we were able to explore the talent showcased by the participating writers. Indeed selecting a winner was a crucial task which is why we followed a strict regime where we evaluated each piece based on four specific criterias.
The first one comprised of the structure of the story where we studied the plot, the characters and the setting to analyse the writer’s ability to combine these components to form a storyline. We also assessed the quality of language and vocabulary that was used to enhance the story and add texture to the plot. The writer’s ability to capture the reader’s attention and be consistent with it throughout with the flow of the story was also something we graded the submissions on and lastly, we also focused majorly on creativity, to see how the writers had conveyed their stories in ways which were innovative and enthralling for the readers.
After this thorough reviewing process, we were able to shortlist 50 stories for Bubblegum – our digital short story collection and then select two winners, one from each language.
The winning story in English Language was titled “Alms” and was written by Chiranthi Rajapakse. A thought provoking story highlighting the many controversial aspects of our society which do not make for comfortable dinner table conversations or topics that people would bring awareness on.
The story addresses Child Priests and how their curious little minds are restricted as they are not granted the freedom to think and explore while growing up. Chiranthi also touches base with the slightly sexist practices that often go unnoticed in the name of religion. She ventures into a bold topic as she talks about how “female-ness” is often frowned upon with regards to matters involving priests.
Dasun Silva emerged as winner for his short story “Sathara Pera Nimithi” written in Sinhala Language. A tale delving into the depths of the values and morals inculcated in our perception through culture and discipline. Sathara Pera Nimithi is an eye opener and encourages readers to pursue respect and good behaviour and etiquette into their daily lifestyles.
In addition to the top two winning entries, there were alot more stunning pieces of work submitted by writers which covered the lesser known and grave aspects of our societies and seeked the finer details of things which we normally overlook and converted them into great stories which expanded the thought process of readers and left us fascinated.
All stories which were graded 15+ were shortlisted to form a collection for the very first issue of Bubblegum.
Bubblegum is a digital anthology created with the aim to post the shortlisted stories so more readers could have access to them in order to gain inspiration and discover unearthed, raw talent which is instilled in these young writers. This platform matches the aesthetic of the writer and presents their stories in an eye-catching manner which permeates the essence of their work and gives them a chance to be featured.
Read these stories on the very first issue of Bubblegum – https://wachana.com/bubblegum-edition-01/
In conclusion, the Write and Win competition was a howling success as it helped us fulfil our aim and achieve our goal of paving the way for writers who were on the quest to seek recognition for their talent. The winners were awarded book vouchers worth 5000 and the shortlisted stories were uploaded on the website, on the web page titled Bubblegum making it a wholesome learning experience for all the participants.
We also hope to carry out more of these initiatives in the future to support and empower young story-tellers so stay tuned and follow our socials for updates!