The 2020 BCWC Award Ceremony, which took place on February 15, was a wonderful celebration of creativity and perseverance! All attendees relished the opportunity to meet other members of the BCWC community in person, exchange ideas during our daytime activities and reflect on the vital role of literature together – in helping us make sense of our actual world on the one hand and transcend its limitations on the other.
The program started with a tour of the American University in Bulgaria’s outstanding facilities. Our winners and their teachers and parents could then attend a fascinating writing workshop with AUBG Professor Michael Cohen, a seasoned literature instructor and writer himself. He shared incisive advice – “Start with the setting”- and then illustrated how any environment both moulds and reflects the characters by referencing examples from timeless literary works. We were particularly impressed with his presentation of the technique of “defamiliarization”, rendering pedestrian objects that have become inconspicuous newly fascinating. With just a few minutes to complete a short exercise, the students came up with original representations of ordinary objects, such as whiteboards and pillows. Their short excerpts, just like this year’s distinguished works about the secret lives of helium-filled balloons or winter coats, demonstrate that literature’s power doesn’t derive so much from its subject matter, as its potential to disrupt the habitual and subtly alter our perceptions.
The award ceremony that everyone had been waiting for started with a brief address from our Executive Director, Dimitar Tsekov, and the announcement of a special anniversary collaboration with our partners from MM TV! Impressed with the quality of the winning poems, MM’s team thought one could seamlessly turn into the lyrics of a song! It was so difficult to choose just one that we decided to put it to a vote and let our online audience pick by voting online! At the start of the evening, Rumyana Ivanova from MM TV announced the winner: Iva Bankova from Varna and her poem “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”!
Here is the first stanza:
East and West – two opposite directions.
Sun and moon – two different creations.
Sun was a man, who loved to be seen.
Moon was a maiden, who was on him keen.
After the Musical Club of AUBG greeted the attendees with a couple of songs from their new production, Rent, it was time to finally celebrate the talented student writers! Before calling the winners in each grade level on to the stage, we tried to share glimpses of their works with the audience, though we felt it would be impossible to convey all their merits: their distinctive styles, the voices of their characters, and all the transporting descriptions of setting and mood.
We want to extend special thanks to our partners for allowing us to provide such outstanding young writes with a fitting platform and reward their accomplishments: The United States Embassy in Bulgaria, The American University in Bulgaria, British Council Bulgaria, Mondelez, Klett Publishing, Express Publishing, MM TV, and Cynthia Phoel, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria and longtime supporter of the competition.
Slavina Moraliyska from British Council presented a special award, a free CAE exam, to Dimitar Sagrev. Stefan Novoselski, Assistant Director of Admissions at AUBG, announced the winners of two other special awards. Yana Golemanova and Aneliya Neycheva won a three-week international summer camp at AUBG and an intensive TOEFL course, respectively. Marin-Konstantin Palatov from Sofia was the recipient of a special award generously provided by Cynthia Phoel. All laureates received water bottles with the BCWC logo, books provided by Klett and Express Publishing and the CORPluS Foundation, and a bag of sweet treats from Mondelez Bulgaria.