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Literary Awards and Contests in the field of Genre Literature

Becoming the center of the publishing market as a mainstream field

 

2020.06.01

 

illustrator

 

The preference of readers is having more influence on the Korean publishing market than other elements. Genre literature including webtoons (online comics), web novels, and science fiction that gained little attention in the past have become popular among readers – even comparable to pure literature – and its market is expanding as well. The idea that genre literature is non-mainstream and is only enjoyed by certain fans has become nonsense today. In particular, in terms of web novels, anyone can become a writer, and as anybody can enjoy the works with a mobile device anywhere one likes, its market has outgrown that of paper books.
Genre literature possesses a different value than pure literature in that its works can be extended to derivative works such as movies or TV series with their creative ideas and fast flow of stories. Once regarded as an area that mainly covers topics some may find interesting, genre literature has become a trend in the domestic publishing market as a part of literature loved by readers. As its derivative works such as videos or movies became big hits, the excellence and quality of the contents are also becoming recognized. Behind such background, new literary awards and contests are being established in Korea to seek for fresh and outstanding content and cultivate them in the field of genre literature. Now, let’s look into the literary awards and contests for genre literature and see which works have won the awards.

 

The idea that genre literature is non-mainstream and is only enjoyed by certain fans has become nonsense today.

 

 

Chanbgi Young Adult Genre Literature Award

 

Changbi, a publisher that has been paving a new way in young adult literature in Korea, held the “Changbi Young Adult Genre Literature Award” together with Kakao Page, a representative content platform in Korea. This award is given to genre works of literature that focus on spreading the fun elements of their story based on creative imagination and an interesting world view. Winners will have a chance to publish their story on Kakao Page and publish a book through Changbi; the door is open to all new and professional writers. The winners in 2020 were as follows: grand prize - 24℃ by Park So-Young, and excellence prize - Bloody War 1931, a full-length novel by Kim Na-Kyung.

 

Poster of Changbi Young Adult Genre Literature Award

Poster of Changbi Young Adult Genre Literature Award

 

Various literary awards of BritG (Brilliant Tales G)

 

Golden Bough, a fiction brand of Minumsa, a renowned publisher in Korea, has been reflecting the new flow in literature by having an interest in the trends of young literature such as SF, mystery, fantasy, and horror that have been on the sidelines of mainstream literature. Since 2004, it has been running an online novel platform named BritG. BritG aims to be the knot that ties the paper book publishing market with the web novel market.
BritG has been steadily hosting contests varying in size – small contests including the “Body-Plunderer Literary Award”, “Doomsday Literary Award”, “Tasty Literary Award”, and “Time-Leap Literary Award”, and sizable contests including the “Golden Dragon Literary Award.” On top of these, it also hosts the “YAH! Literary Award” together with Naver Audio Clip, an audio content platform in Korea, in which the winners get to produce their work into video content. As such, BritG seeks for the diversification of readers’ subscription trends while supporting creative works of writers by hosting various literary awards. Recently, BritG hosted “The 2nd BritG Thriller-Romance Contest” and is currently undergoing screening of the submitted extraordinary romance stories. The winners of the first contests were as follows: grand prize - Who Are You (Golden Bough) by Lee Hee-Young, and excellence prize - Monster Rose (Golden Bough) by Jung Yi-Dam.


* BritG : britg.kr

 

<Who Are You>

<Monster Rose>

Who Are You, Monster Rose

 

Com2uS Global Game Literary Award

 

A mobile game company Com2uS has been hosting “Com2uS Global Game Literary Award” since 2018 to discover and foster creative talents. In 2019, the contest was divided into two: “Source Story” for stories that can be made into comics or animations, and “Game Scenario” that can be produced as a story-based interactive game. Winners get to have an opportunity to make a real game utilizing their story, and also to publish their work in the winners’ collection collaborating with a famous illustrator.
The collection of the winning works in 2019 was published in March this year, but it was only given to related people as it was not for sale. Dragon Queen Maker by Choi Ji-Hye that won the top prize in game scenario last year is set to be produced as a story game this year. It is driving huge attention as it is the first work from the award to be put into a game.

 

Illustration of <Dragon Queen Maker>

2019 “Com2uS Global Game Literary Award Collection

Illustration of Dragon Queen Maker, 2019 “Com2uS Global Game Literary Award" Collection

 

Naver Webtoon & Webnovel Contest Greatest on Earth

 

“Naver Webtoon & Webnovel Contest Greatest on Earth”, marking the 2nd anniversary this year, is a grand-sized contest with prizes worth 1.5 billion won. Submission is set to open in June. The contest is subdivided into webtoons and web novels, and anyone can apply regardless of career. This contest is the biggest literary contest in Korea that aims to discover and foster content creators and expand domestic webtoon and web novel markets.
The webtoon part chooses winners twice in a year: first in June and second in September. The winners get to have a chance to officially publish their work on Naver Webtoon along with a cash prize and are eligible for professional management by the company. Also, as winning the contest implies that the work can be made into derivative content such as videos or books, it is a must-try chance for writers. For web novels, the category is subdivided into 6 genres – romance, romance fantasy, modern fantasy, fantasy, martial arts, and mystery. The eye-catching characteristic of the web novels part is that readers get to choose the winner through an “open series” method in which candidates publish their works on a web novel platform run by Naver.
The grand prize winners in the webtoon category last year were: Off Limits: Grim Reapers, Tin-Opener Ranger, and The Girl Trial in sequence. The award was given out three times last year. For web novels that were held in a total of four rounds, the winners were: Game Master - 1st round, How to Safe-Farewell - 2nd round, Devil’s Myself - 3rd round, and Contract Marriage of Virtuous Park - 4th round. Among them, Devil’s Myself is currently under preparation for series, and others are being published on Naver Webtoon and Webnovel.


* Naver Webtoon : comic.naver.com
* Naver Webnovel : novel.naver.com

 

Thumbnails of <The Girl Trial>

<Contract Marriage of Virtuous Park>

Thumbnails of The Girl Trial, Contract Marriage of Virtuous Park

 

Munpia The 6th Korea Webnovel Contest 2020

 

“The 6th Korea Webnovel Contest 2020” co-hosted by the Writer’s Association of Korean Popular Literature and Munpia, a Korean web novel platform, is open for applications from May 11th to June 19th. The winners will be announced on July 23rd, and the number of views and the evaluation of professional judges will decide them. In the 5th contest hosted in 2019, The Genius’s Game Streaming by Highend won the grand prize; the series ended, but supplement episodes are currently published.


* Munpia : www.munpia.com

 

Thumbnail of <The Genius’s Game Streaming>

Thumbnail of The Genius’s Game Streaming

 

Korea Science Literature Award

 

“Korea Science Literature Award” is an award for new science-fiction writers held by newspaper Moneytoday. This award is known to be the most celebrated award in the field of science-fiction literature in Korea. Established in 2016, the award is subdivided into two categories: full-length story and short- & medium-length story. Writer Kim Cho-Yeop’s Book Missing Inside Library and If We Cannot Move at the Speed of Light won the grand prize for short- and medium-length stories and runner-up categories in 2017. The two novels were published in 2019 in the collection titled If We Cannot Move at the Speed of Light (Hubble).
The winners of the 4th Korea Science Literature Award held in 2019 were: Thousand Waves by Cheon Sun-Ran for full-length novels and Moment Arcade by Hwang Mo-Gwa for short- and medium-length novels. The work collection of the winners was published in May by Hubble, a science literature brand of East-Asia Publishing Co. Meanwhile, the 5th Korea Science Literature Award 2020 was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19.

 

Winners’ Work Collection of the 3rd Korea Science Literature Award

Winners’ Work Collection of the 4th Korea Science Literature Award

Winners’ Work Collection of the 3rd and 4th Korea Science Literature Award

 

Readers have loved genre literature as a part of “literature” just like pure literature.

 

On top of the above-mentioned literary awards and contests, there are other various genre literature-related literary awards and contests in Korea. The number and size are growing along with the expanding market. Recently, “Moon Yoon-Sung Literary Award (tentative)” is under preparation which is named after writer Moon Yoon-Sung who wrote Perfect Society (Arzak), which is regarded as the first full-length sci-fi novel in Korea.
As such, various works of genre literature such as sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and fantasy are constantly drawing attention in the domestic literature market. Yet, underestimation of the field still exists that claims genre literature is mainly focused on “entertainment.” However, as genre literature is loved by readers as a part of “literature”, not distinguished from pure literature, I hope that more literary awards that assess the excellence and value of it are created in the future.

 

 


Written by Choi HaYeong

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Choi HaYeong

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