Winners of 2021 Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize announced Post-90s author, Chen Chuncheng, takes home the honors

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BEIJING, Nov. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The award ceremony for the fourth Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize was held in Beijing on October 28, 2021. The author, Chen Chuncheng, won the grand prize for his work The Submarine at Night. The prize was jointly awarded by Blancpain, the fine Swiss watchmaker, and Imaginist, one of China’s the most influential publishers, with the goal of establishing an impartial , authoritative, professional, and influential literature award as well as to stimulate international dialogues in mainland China.


The finalists were jointly selected by a jury that included Alai, Ge Fei, Jonathan Lee Chung-shan, Liang Hong and MA Ka Fai. Jack Liao, member of Swatch Group China Management Committee and Vice President of Blancpain China, together with judge Ge Fei, presented a Blancpain Villeret collection watch and trophy to the grand winner Chen Chuncheng. The Literary Prize Committee granted the aspiring author a bonus of CNY 300,000. The award money was provided by Blancpain.

During the entries submission period which ran from April 10 to May 15, 2021, the Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize office received a record of nearly 100 works from authors and publishers. On August 23, the initial long list of 11 works was finalized and released by the Literary Prize Committee. The shortlist was announced on September 15. Jack Liao and Blancpain Cultural Ambassador Leung Man-tao presented the Blancpain Young Friend Award and the finalist certificates to the shortlisted five authors, Chen Chuncheng, Sun Pin, Zhang Ji, Zheng Zhi and Zhou Kai.

In addition to the award given to Chen Chuncheng, the other four shortlisted authors will each receive a bonus of CNY 20,000 from Blancpain in a move to encourage young writers to continue with their creative endeavors. The Blancpain Young Friend Award is both a medium for identifying literary talent as well as a form of mutual recognition. It not only represents Blancpain’s appreciation of the young, talented writers, but also stands for the identification and appreciation of similar characteristics in Blancpain’s brand values. The Blancpain Young Friend Award seeks to identify the best among the young, up and coming groups: entrepreneurs, Michelin chefs, and authors.

On behalf of the entire jury, Ge Fei presented the top award to Chen Chuncheng. Commenting on the winning title Submarine at Night, he said: “The author has found a unique way to combine knowledge with life, sensibility with rationality, imagination with precision, revealing a transparent and lingering temperament and a strong command of fantasy. The novel presents a new path for the contemporary novel by way of elegant and charming language.”

Chen Chuncheng said, “I thank the judges for their recognition. It is a great honor to win the award. Nevertheless, one needs to recognize that literature is not a competitive sport, but rather something that relies on many non-absolutes, including the consensus of several judges. Even the famous Ballon d’Or in the competitive sport of football is controversial every year, not to mention that literature is something that has no set standards or criteria of any kind.”

“After reading the books by the other four short-listed writers, I think they are all very good, each in their own way. Every writer should be true to himself, and remain true to his or her writing style and content. If someone later on were to say to me, you should write in such or such a way, or, you need to include a dose of reality, or if that someone were to teach me all kinds of theories, or even reveal to me the kind of writing that will assure my success, I will not heed his or her advice. I can only write in my own style. I cannot become Zhou Kai, nor can Zhou Kai become me. In a few words, live your own live, remain true to yourself and write in the way that you want to write. Thank you all!”

Jack Liao, member of Swatch Group China Management Committee and Vice President of Blancpain China, said in his speech that “in the past four years, we have been delivering a simple and profound message to the public by way of the Literary Prize: ‘Reading makes time more valuable ‘. We are thrilled to learn through comments we have read online that the books that have garnered the Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize have gradually become must-reads. We are also very pleased to observe the attention that more young authors are getting as a result of this prize. Once we announced the shortlist, the books of the authors on the list saw an increase in number of books that needed to be printed just to meet the increased demand. It is our goal to create an impartial , authoritative, professional literary award, and our mission to provide a stage and spotlight for young writers, empowering more people to know them, follow them, and like them.”

“Today’s award ceremony is just a ‘stop along the way’ for these young and aspiring writers. Today, Blancpain is taking stock of the times we are in, and then taking a close look at the information that has been collected, so that we can find a method, a way to light a fire under all those aspiring young and creative souls that are out there, so they can take a stand and eliminate any possibility of the impoverishment of the literary scene. As a brand with a long history going back 286 years, we believe in the success of every brand, author, or anyone, for that matter, as they face the inevitable hardships, difficulties and challenges. Every year should be regarded as new starting point on the long road. These are a few words I’d like to share with all of you as an encouragement: ‘May your journey be long, full of miracles and discoveries’.”

About the Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize

The Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize, co-founded by Swiss luxury watch brand Blancpain and China’s most influential cultural brand Imaginist, was created to uncover new and promising literary stars, support talented young authors and encourage the creation of Chinese-language novels.

Engagement of the members of the latest generation just entering adulthood is always a key indicator that determines the future of the world of literature. In the field of literary creation, talented young authors are always seeking an opportunity, while publishing platforms are looking for potential authors, and, at the same time, seek to attract more attention and garner more engagement. Many contemporary classical authors were discovered and recognized in their youth, as literary awards specifically designated for up and coming authors were available to them. For example, Naipaul, Coetzee and new Nobel Prize in Literature winner Kazuo Ishiguro all won the Man Booker Prize in their youth, and went on to earn the Nobel Prize in Literature at a later stage in their writing careers. Renowned Japanese authors, among them, Shusaku Endo, Kenzaburo Oe and Ryu Murakami, were each recipients of the Akutagawa Prize in their youth. In today’s world, literary creation is a lonely and long road for young authors. The literary prize is designed to create a future that gives authors the space to focus on the creation of their works just as calligraphers are given the space and time to practice their craft.

Imaginist, the most influential publisher in China, has been dedicated to discovering the best authors who write in Chinese, offering an opportunity for thoughtful words to be published, while imagining another possibility for books. Works by Mu Xin, Kenneth Pai Hsien-yung, among others, have become even more valuable with the passage of time, nourishing the emotional life for generations of readers. Imaginist has, for a long time, been focused on publishing both the literary classics alongside the works of some of the most dynamic and thoughtful young authors who care about the human condition through the diverse collection of works that they have created with their open-minded insights.

Founded in 1735, Blancpain, the fine watchmaking brand from Switzerland, can pride itself in a long history going back 286 years. This creator of classic timepieces understands that the keepers of time that it creates are devices that go well beyond the material and physical, and that they speak to the faith, the feeling for aesthetics and the humanity that resides in each and every one of us. When one talks about the act of creation, it means the perseverance that must be maintained over an extended period of time, while bringing together the inspiration, skills, devotion and patience to create the structure, details and theme for each watch, which often calls for endless iterations of design while rethinking new ones to deliver true excellence in quality. Such an approach is very much in line with the essence that led to the creation of our literary classics. Literature is the extension of time. Blancpain, hand-in-hand with Imaginist, represent the literature penned by members of today’s youngest generation who love literary creation and remain committed to making their contribution.

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