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Hallmark brings poetry contest

SEZZIE —Poetry is not well recognised

GONDWE — We want to be part of nurturing and
growing talent

As part of its eighth anniversary celebration, Hallmark Creations, which is now rebranding to Hallmark Group, has dangled a K1 million poetry competition that will see poets in three categories walking away with cash prizes.

The company’s managing director Gift Gondwe broke the news on Friday at their premises in Blantyre, saying poetry is one art disciplines which play a crucial role in entertaining people but has not been fully rewarded.

The poetry contest is targeting children and women focusing on categories of M’mera (Under 12), Teens and Mayi Malawi.

Gondwe said the poetry competition will run from August 2 to September 30 2021, adding that winners will be announced on December 18 2021 at an event in Blantyre.

“Three poetry anthologies published by Hallmark will also be launched at this prize presentation ceremony,” Gondwe said.

He said the uniqueness of the contest is that it aims at engaging children, youths and women who make the biggest cut of the population of the country.

“It is expected that poems submitted will contain women, children and young people’s aspirations, fears, challenges, opportunities and potentials and, from here, policymakers may find reason to act on issues raised,” he said.

Gondwe also said the competition also aims at promoting research among entrants.

He said the competition is there to reward talent in the country as they also commemorate their eighth anniversary.

“We want to be part of nurturing and growing talent. We picked poetry because it is part of our creations. We are into printing and branding and we also do publishing,” Gondwe said.

He said as a printing house, they want to work with writers disclosing that they have advanced machinery and technology for publishing.

“We also want to celebrate with everyone through poetry. Hallmark has undergone growth; things have changed. We are in printing, general supply, stationery and energy material and products and so we want to reach out to everyone. We have actually changed our logo from ‘leading from the front’ to ‘the only way’ and we are now Hallmark Group from Hallmark Creations,” he said.

Poet Paul Sezzie, who is also a member of various poetry groupings, has since welcomed Hallmark Group’s gesture.

“Poetry is not well recognised and rewarded and it has not been easy with Covid, where poets and other arts practitioners are not being hired and so income has been cut. This competition is timely as it will earn them something,” he said.

Sezzie, who is set to star at International Poetry Festival of Medellin in Colombia next month, called on other companies to emulate Hallmark’s gesture.

“We want to thank Hallmark for even considering the publishing part, poets will be encouraged to publish and have their poems read by future generations,” he said.

In the M’mera category, the winner walks away with K100,000 with the first and second runner-ups receiving K75,000 and K50,000, respectively, with the top 50 poems put in an anthology to be published by Hallmark.

The Teen’s category running under the theme ‘Towards Vision 2063’ will see the winner walking away with K150,000 with first and second runner up receiving K100,000 and K75,000, respectively, with 50 poems getting published into an anthology by Hallmark.

In the Mayi Malawi category targeting women, the winner will receive K200,000 whereas the first and second runner ups will receive K150,000 and K100,000, respectively, with 50 top poems getting published into an anthology by Hallmark.

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