Sunday, March 15, 2009


As previously published, the first Istoria Timor writing competition has now closed and we have received 10 entries. The entries received are as follows:

  • Atauro by Amelino "Ano" Fernandes

  • Loron Abang Nakonu ho Esperansa by Atanasio Maria Pinto

  • Matan Ben ho Esperansa - Betty Reis

  • Tinta Nurak - Edmundo "Cono" Corbafo

  • Lalaok Domin - Flash C. Guterres (Preman 69)

  • Tuku 11 - Irim Tolentino

  • Subar Domin Sai Realidade - Maria "Lena" Madalena

  • Tinan Ikus Iha Kolegio - Marciano da C. Fernandes

  • Harohan Ida hose Matebian Sira - Fransisco Pinto Amaral

  • Ha'u Maka Lucas - Teodozio "Teo" Batista Ximenes

Judges will be selected over the coming weeks and we expect to announce the winners by the end of May 2009.


We had our coordination meeting last Saturday at Motion in Mercado Lama, the main aim of which was to decide a fair and transparent way to coordinate the judging process.

We were joined by most of the writers, some of their friends, and Maun Abe - a well respected Timorese poet and active member of the artistic community.

I was very keen to ensure that we draw judges from as many walks of life as possible and had come up with all sorts of complicated methods to ensure the balance of men and women, young and old, literary types and non-literary types, and so on. After over an hour of discussing the pros and cons of the different methods, one of the writers interrupted and said "look... We trust you and Maun Abe. How about the two of you get together and work it out yourselves?" Everyone agreed, so that's what we're doing. As most of the judges will be from Maun Abe's and my (considerably smaller) social circle of literary types, this does make it a little less democratic and will make it difficult to get participation from out in the foho. That said, it will be a lot simpler and quicker. Also, Maun Abe and I are very conscious of these limitations, and we think that, with care, we can select a good, balanced panel that will help us pick a winner.

I was in Indonesia for most of last week so we didn't get a chance to meet again yet, but we hope to start contacting people and asking them if they would be willing to be judges this week.

We have taken nominations from the writers and have a few ideas ourselves, but if there are any readers out there have any suggestions or feel qualified themselves then let us know.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Competition closed

The Istoria Timor competition is now closed!

We have received 10 entries and official judging will commence shortly. We're having a coordination meeting this Saturday to work out how the judging is going to work and
generally discuss the project.

The way I hope to judge the project is by putting out a call for judges among the universities and high schools. They will submit a form with their name, age, gender, contact details and 100 words on why they should be a judge. The writers will then pick 10-20 to read all of the stories. We'll give them a month or so to read all of the entries and then take their judgments as final. Of course, these are all my ideas, I'm going to put them to the writers and see what they think.

As Shelley and I are leaving Timor in December, I want this project to be as sustainable as possible. So I'm in no particular hurry to decide on a winner. I want to create a community of writers that could potentially run this competition next year, so I'm going to take it slow and try to get as much of this done by the authors themselves. Conservatively, we should have a winner by late May/early June.

I'll then shop the winner (and possibly the runner up) around to all of the local NGOs to see if we can find someone to print it. The quote we have from a local printing company is that it was cost around $8000 to edit, and then print 5000 copies of the book including layout.

Exciting times.