Monday, January 4, 2010


It's that time of year again!!!

CANVAS invites you to join and submit an entry its annual Romeo Forbes Children's Story Writing competition, and possibly see your written text rendered in full color in a children's book.

This year, 13 Artists* Awardee Don Salubayba does the honors and provides the inspiration with this untitled contest piece:

* Given by the Cultural Center of the Philippines every three years, the Thirteen Artists Award is the country's most prestigious award given to any Filipino artist under the age of 40, and is intended to nurture and promote artistic excellence by recognizing progressive and innovative art.

Contest Rules and Conditions

1. The 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 1,600 words or less.

4. There is no particular theme, other than the use of Don Salubayba's contest piece, shown above, as the inspiration or basis for the entry.

5. Judging Process. A CANVAS review panel shall read and award points for all stories received based on the following criteria:

* Originality and Storyline (40%)
* Imagery (30%)
* Quality of Writing (20%)
* X-Factor/Judges' discretion (10%)

Based on the points received, CANVAS shall forward a shortlist of at least five stories with the highest scores to the Artist. The Artist shall then provide comments on any or all the stories, for consideration by the panel of judges.

The panel of judges - taking the contest criteria and Artist comments into non-binding consideration - shall collectively choose the winner from the shortlist 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.

None of CANVAS' review panel, the judges or the Artist shall see the entrant's name until the winner is chosen.

6. Entries must be submitted by email, as a Microsoft Word attachment, to with the subject heading 2010 ROMEO FORBES CHILDREN'S STORYWRITING COMPETITION. In the body of the email, entrants must provide their name, the title of their entry, mailing and email address, and telephone/cellphone number. Only the story title should appear on all pages of the attached entry.

7. The deadline for submission of entries is 5:00 p.m. (Manila time), Tuesday, 30 March 2010. Entries received after the deadline, even if sent earlier, will no longer be considered for the competition.

Kindly note that CANVAS acknowledges each and every entry that we receive. If you submitted a story, and do not receive an acknowledgement from us within 24 hours, please assume that your story was not received and kindly resend it to us.

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.

8. All entrants hereby agree to authorize CANVAS to post such entries on its website, as CANVAS deems fit, and free from any payments, royalties or fees whatsoever.

9. There shall be only one winner, who shall receive a cash prize of PhP 35,000.00 (less applicable withholding tax) for his/her entry.

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 any translations, adaptations or modifications thereto.

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, licensing of, or other transactions on the same.

(Please see our note below on why we have this rule.)

10. Except for the right to publish any received entry on its website, 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.

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.

12. The winner of the CANVAS storywriting competition will be announced on or around the first half of June 2010 on the CANVAS website. The winner will also be notified via email on the same announcement date.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. Employees of CANVAS, 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 (Rule 9) 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).

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 (, 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).

We have, in fact, now taken it one step further. All our stories are now available and downloadable on our website FOR FREE, in both English and Filipino. 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.

A second reason why we ask for the transfer of rights is that CANVAS is a small nonprofit, 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.

Third, we are also trying to get the stories published abroad. Should we get really lucky and end up on the NY Times Bestseller List or say, get our book selected by Oprah, be assured that we will make things right with the artist and writer (you'll just have to trust us on this).

But until then, having demonstrably complete ownership over the rights makes it easier and less complicated for us to approach and negotiate with would-be publishers and agents (who hopefully would not be spooked by our giving out downloadable e-books for free in the first place).

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.


Ipat Luna said...

This is a very laudable effort and I congatulate CANVAS and all the fellows.

Have you thought of holding a contest for novels for the 7-12 year old set, though? My son is past the short books stage and while he still rereads some of his shorter books, he really gets into the 200-300 page ones by now and there is a dire need for Filipino books of this type. I thought a contest such as this specifically for novels for children would spark the competition that would provide our young ones a appreciation of Filipino and a continuing adventure and education on the language.

CANVAS said...

Thanks for your comment.

Conducting a competition for short novels would be very interesting, and it has come up as an idea in the past. The reason we have not pushed through is that we are unsure as to how we would be able to publish the winning entry, much less sustain the effort on a continuing basis.

The cost of publishing books is quite high, and the returns are negligible, if not negative, unless the print run (assuming we are able to sell all of them) is in the thousands (which we cannot afford to do).

With short story-picture books, as we currently do, we are able to sell the artworks, and use the proceeds to subsidize the contest yearly, and ensure the publication of our books on a limited edition basis.

shiawase said...

pwede pa rin tagalog di ba

CANVAS said...

Opo. Puede pa din ang Tagalog. Puede rin ang Ingles. :-)

ascoth a.k.a. Chinensis said...

Pwede rin po ba na "dual authors" (a.k.a. dalawa ang author ng isang kuwento)? ^.^

CANVAS said...

Sorry, no. Only one author per story. Thanks.

ascoth a.k.a. Chinensis said...

How about a main author asking a friend to edit his or her work for consistency? Would that be okay? ^.^

CANVAS said...

Yes, it's ok (even encouraged) that authors have their works looked at by others, or workshopped so as to submit the best possible story.

ascoth a.k.a. Chinensis said...

At least things are clearer now. Thank you ^.^

pegaraw said...

Wohoo! Magsisimula na akong magsulat XD
Bakit po isa lang ang winner btw?
Wala po ba kayong mga consolation prizes? Hehe.

Sheila Mae :) said...

Hi can I post this is my blog? Thanks.

CANVAS said...

Yes, of course, Sheila Mae. Thanks.

Daniel Ted C. Feliciano said...

I noticed your poster hanging on one of the shops at Cubao Expo. I'm sending in a story, that's for sure.

christopher rosales said...

paano po kung lumagpas sa 1600 words ung story,,, hindi na po pa un pwede?

CANVAS said...

Hi Christopher.

We are quite strict about the 1,600-word limit. An entry which exceeds this limit cannot be considered for the competition.


cedes said...

Is poetry okay? Or does it have to be prose? Thank you!

CANVAS said...

Yes, poetry is fine. :-)

Endoh Chiaki said...

the e-mail posted there is still the one we're going to use to submit later right?

Does it have to be exactly at 5:00pm? Within that 59 seconds?

I'm being paranoid.. I know...

But can I also submit the same entry more than once?


cedes said...

submitted an entry earlier. hope you received it. thank you :)

czyka said...

hi! when will you announce the winner? :)

teacherlet said...

is it open to Phillippnos only?

CANVAS said...

Yes, the contest is only for Filipinos. (Although the deadline for this year's competition has already passed.)

exoticmary said...

thanks to your site it gives opportunity to amateur writer and artist as well, may you have more exciting concepts to come.

Hybrid Cha said...

When will you announce the winner? Thank you!

CANVAS said...

We hope to announce the winner before the end of the month. :-)

APRILS said...

We will be waiting. :)

CANVAS said...

We've already announced the winner! :-)