The Canadian social reading website Wattpad has named its new poetry awards for author and literary icon Margaret Atwood. The first annual Attys, which include a grand prize of $1,000, will be given for a group of ten poems. Other prizes will include feedback sessions with Atwood and the chance to be a character in the Man Booker Prize-winning author’s next novel.
“I'm very honoured to have [the prize] named after me,” Atwood wrote in a message to entrants on the contest website. “Poetry is at the core of each language, and language itself is at the core of our humanity.”
Wattpad is a Toronto-based digital platform for writers and readers to share new creative work. According to its mission, Wattpad offers a “creative, welcoming, and completely free community to connect with readers from around the world. Writers can build an engaged fan base, share their work with a huge audience, and receive instant feedback on their stories.”
The contest, sponsored in part by the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, aims to further that mission by celebrating digital-first poetry, which may be read, shared, and even submitted from anywhere. “We anticipate that some entries will be written on mobile devices,” said Allen Lau, Wattpad’s cofounder. “We want to create an opportunity for poets to share their work and for audiences to discover the genre, [and we] are excited to see how the world connects over poetry.”
Atwood, who joined Wattpad's community of nine million writers and readers in June, has three new poems posted on the website. “May you enjoy composing your own poems, and enjoy reading the poems of others,” she wrote. “These are very ancient pleasures; by sharing in them, you are sharing in our own deep history.”
Poets should submit ten poems, each which demonstrates a different poetic form. Submissions will be accepted through the Wattpad website until October 31.
In the video below, Atwood discusses her creative process with the folks of Big Think.