Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Happy New Year! It’s that time of year again!

CANVAS invites you to join its 4th Annual Romeo Forbes Storywriting Competition. This year's contest is based on an original untitled oil on canvas painting by Joy Mallari (pictured above - click on the picture to see a larger version).

In addition to receiving P30,000.00 in cash and a trophy, the winning author will also see his/her story rendered and published as a full color children's book in mid-2009.


1. The 2008 Romeo Forbes Children’s Storywriting Competition is open to all Filipinos.

2. Entries must not have been previously published, and all entrants must warrant the originality of their submitted entries.

3. Writers may submit only one entry, in English or Filipino, which shall be of 2,000 words or less.

4. There is no particular theme, other than the use of this year’s contest piece by artist Joy Mallari as the inspiration or basis for the entry.

5. The CANVAS children’s story writing competition shall be awarded points by a select panel of judges based on the following criteria:

* Originality and Storyline (30%)
* Quality of Writing (30%)
* Imagery (30%)
* X-Factor (Judges’ discretion) (10%)

6. Judging Process.

* CANVAS shall first shortlist the ten (10) best stories, copies of which shall then be forwarded to the CANVAS Fellow.
* The CANVAS Fellow shall then shorten the list further to seven (7) stories, and may provide comments on any or all the stories for consideration by the panel of judges.
* A panel of judges shall collectively choose the winner from the final set of stories.
* If the judges cannot come to a consensus on the winner, they shall take a vote and the entry that gains the most number of votes shall be declared the winner.
* Neither the judges nor the CANVAS fellow will see the entrant's name until the winner is chosen.

7. Entries must be submitted by email, as a Microsoft Word attachment, to storycontest@canvas.ph with the subject heading 2008 ROMEO FORBES CHILDREN’S STORYWRITING COMPETITION. Entrants must include a cover sheet with their name, mailing and email address, and telephone number. Only the story title should appear on all pages of the entry.

8. The deadline for submission of entries is 5:00 p.m. (Manila time), Friday 21 March 2008. Entries received after the deadline, even if sent earlier, will no longer be considered for the competition. CANVAS shall not be responsible for entries which are not received, or which are received after the deadline, due to technical failure or for any other reason whatsoever.

9. Subject to Rule 14 below, by submitting an entry, all entrants thereby agree to authorize CANVAS to post such entries on its website or blog, as CANVAS deems fit, and free from any payments, royalties or fees whatsoever.

10. There shall be only one winner, who shall receive a cash prize of PhP 30,000.00 and a trophy for his/her entry. The winner shall be responsible for all applicable taxes.

The winning writer shall also be entitled to five (5) free copies upon publication of the book.

The winner shall grant and transfer to CANVAS all intellectual property and publication rights to the story, including the right to translate, adapt and/or make modifications thereto. (Please see our short note on why we have this rule.)

It is hereby understood that the cash prize to be awarded to the winner shall include consideration of such intellectual property and publication rights to the story, and the writer shall not be entitled to any other royalties or fees from earnings, if any, that may result from future publication of, derivative works, licensing of, or other transactions on the same.

Except for the right to publish any received entry on its website and/or blog, CANVAS shall not retain any other rights to entries that are not selected as the winner, except where separate agreements are reached with the writers.

11. CANVAS shall exercise full and exclusive editorial and artistic control over the publication of the winning entry and resulting book.

12. While it is the full intention of CANVAS to publish the winning entry as a full-color children’s book, CANVAS reserves the right not to publish the same for any reason whatsoever.

13. The winner of the CANVAS storywriting competition will be announced on or around 21 April, 2008. The winner will also be notified via email on the same announcement date.

14. CANVAS reserves the right not to award the top competition prize in the event that the judges decide that no entry was received that is deserving of the top prize. In such event, however, CANVAS shall have no right whatsoever over all entries that were received; and shall not publish any entry, in its website or in any other venue, without the prior written consent or agreement of the author.

15. The decision of the competition judges shall be final, and no correspondence or inquiries into the same – including requests for comments/feedback on received entries – shall be entertained.

16. Employees of CANVAS, 1/of Gallery and members of their immediate family, as well as the CANVAS Fellow’s immediate family, are disqualified from participating in the competition.

Why We Ask for the Transfer of Rights

The competition rules clearly state that the winning author should agree to transfer all rights to CANVAS and "...shall not be entitled to any other royalties or fees from earnings, if any, that may result from future publication of, derivative works, licensing of, or other transactions on the same."

This rule has understandably raised quite a few eyebrows in the writers' community, and this note is just to clarify where it is that CANVAS is coming from.

First of all, having complete ownership of the story rights makes it easier and less complicated for us to quickly and liberally share and give our consent to anyone who may ask for permission to use the winning story (something that we have always granted in the past).

Just as we were fortunate enough to have been given permission to adapt "The Man Who Planted Trees," into our maiden publication - “Elias and His Trees,” - we hope that the stories that we work on will inspire similar creativity.

It is for this very reason that the stories and illustrations of books we publish are all available for free viewing and enjoyment on our website (www.canvas.ph), despite the concern of some that the easy availability of the stories on the Internet could eat into the sales of our books (which, happily, has not proven to be the case).

A second reason why we ask for the transfer of rights is that CANVAS is a small NGO, and is not equipped to document and track royalty shares that ideally should accrue to authors and artists. In fact, we only rely on and trust our partner publisher(s) to remit to us our own royalty shares. It is for this reason that our prizes (we think), are quite substantial and approximates (if not exceeds) what writers would normally expect to receive in royalties.

Finally, we are also trying to be financially sustainable. We rely on a small amount of grant funding to conduct our activities, including co-sharing the publication costs of the books. We can only hope to recoup the expenses so that we can do these activities on a continuing and recurring basis in the years to come.

Please be assured of our continuing effort to balance our desire to contribute to the public domain in a manner that is also fair to the writers and artists, on the one hand; and our need to also be fiscally responsible with the grants that have been entrusted to us, and to the publishers that we partner with, on the other.


Danton Remoto said...

Yes, but in the end, the Philippines is a signatory to several international agreements on copyrights that state that the author RETAINS all rights to his or her work.

Thank you.

Danton Remoto
M. Phil. in Publishing Studies,
University of Stirling, UK, 1990
former Director, Office of Research
and Publications, Ateneo de Manila University

Giulia said...

May i suggest that the party recieving the sent stories reply with a note stating that the entry has been recieved just so that the writer/s will be aware if his story failed to be sent.

And please clarify: Only the story title should appear on all pages of the entry.

Thank You.

emjey said...

It's very interesting to know CANVAS exists to promote Filipino culture and arts.