Competition The Two Chairs

The 'Two Chairs' © Wikimedia Commons

Mon, 25.09.2017 -
Fri, 02.03.2018

Creative Writing Competition

Run by Dr James Hodkinson, Warwick University, this competition asks pupils to consider the pictures of the two stone chairs which are part of the Hafez-Goethe Monument in Weimar, Germany. It commemorates the work of the German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832). His collection of poems, the West Eastern Divan (1819) not only imagined a dialogue between Christian Europe and the Islamic world, but also sought to break down of rigid cultural divisions between them. The chairs, though, were left empty by the sculptors who installed the monument in 2001. As such, they do not only represent Goethe and his Muslim counterpart, but allow anyone to occupy them, or even to ‘swap’ chairs and see the world from the ‘other’ point of view.

Entrants don’t have to write literally about Goethe and the monument. What do the chairs say to you? What personal experiences of encountering or crossing between different cultures can you draw upon to inspire you? Pupils can write in English or in German. Their piece can be a poem, short story or piece of prose no more than 1000 words in length. The entry categories will be: under 18s and over 18s, with one winner in English and one in German selected from age group (four winners in total).

Taking part

Deadline for entries is 2 March 2018. They should be sent electronically to  Dr Carly Hegenbarth stating clearly the entrant’s age.

Terms and conditions can be found here.