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Bucheon Diaspora Literary Award

Purpose of Establishment of
Bucheon Diaspora Literary Award

Since the dawn of humanity, our species has always been moving. Humans have migrated to unknown territories for survival, for a better life. In each footstep is a story and these stories have filled the pages of human history. Even for voluntary migrants, the homeland is a place of longing and belonging, and the place of return. For those who were displaced by force, the homeland is an ardent dream and destined resting-place.

Diaspora was once a term restricted to the forced dispersion of the Jewish population, who preserved their ethnic identity and hopes of homecoming for over a thousand years. But the history of displacement and yearning is not exclusive. No cities are built without migration. Countless bodies are crossing the borders of state and nation every day to create new diasporic communities.

Literature has long documented the lives and stories of human migration. Writers would draw from their own experience as immigrants or find inspiration in foreign lands. The expansion of empires and colonialism in the 19th century increased migration for both colonizers and the colonized. Writers of the empire found new material in the expanded territories for their works, while writers of the colonies sublimated the painful realities of imperialism in their literature.

Diasporas are expanding with the march of globalization. Diasporic communities have fostered intercultural exchanges and introduced hybrid cultures. The literary imagination is crossing new cultural borders, and writers and readers are exploring new realms of diasporic literature. Contemporary literature is broadening its embrace through diasporas.

The expansion of diasporic communities is enriching Korean literature as well. The Korean diaspora encompasses over 7 million people around the globe, with each community producing new literary achievements based on their own lives and history. The immigrants in Korea are also burgeoning with stories that are challenging conventional Korean literature.

As a UNESCO Creative City of Literature, Bucheon recognizes the potential and accomplishments of diaspora literature. Collective identities such as race, ethnicity, and nationality continue to divide the world with hostility and hatred. The recent pandemic has highlighted the long path we have ahead of us. Diasporas are the thread that weaves these splits together through cultural exchange, and transforms pain and sacrifice into a patchwork of tolerance and harmony.

Diaspora literature is the sublimation of historical efforts, lived experiences, and the process of identity formation. It is a literature that communicates hospitality and collaboration instead of hatred and discrimination. It is not limited to writers from a diaspora.

The citizens of Bucheon believe in the transformative power of literature. By launching the Bucheon Diaspora Literary Award, we seek to uplift the spirits of solidarity, hospitality, and collaboration. Along with UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, Bucheon embarks on its long journey towards transforming the world through literature.


Bucheon UNESCO Creative City of Literature is hosting the 1st Bucheon Diaspora Literary Award with the goal of awarding the prize in Autumn 2021. Bucheon is now seeking nominations of outstanding works for the selection of worthy prizewinner.

  • Name of Award : Bucheon Diaspora Literary Award (BUDILIA)
  • Official Languages : Korean, English
  • Eligibility for Nomination : Full-length novels on the theme of diaspora written by living authors in Korean or English
    • Timeframe
      • Published in the past 10 years (2010.1. ~ 2019.12.) for Korean works, or published in the past 20 years for overseas works(2001. 1. ~ 2019.12.), based on the year of the first publication
      • For translated works, the version in the final language must have been published within the past 10 years(2009.1. ~ 2019.12.)
  • Prize : Total prize money of 60 million KRW to be awarded to one work
    • Award will be presented to one author and one translator
    • Both the author and translator will receive a plaque and prize money (50 million KRW for the author, 10 million KRW for the translator)
  • Eligibility of Nominators : Any individual or group, regardless of nationality
  • Nomination Procedure
    • Deadline : 30 October 2020, 18:00 (Korean Standard Time : GMT + 9)
    • Documents to submit
      • Official letter of nomination : Written in one of the official languages, up to 200 words in Engish describing the work and the reason for nomination
      • Each nominator may only nominate one work, and nominating one’s own is not allowed.
    • How to apply : Nomination can be submitted either by completing the Google Form(https://bit.ly/BUDILIA) or sending a completed nomination letter to bucheon.cityoflit@gmail.com with [Nomination for 2021 BUDILIA] in the subject line.
    • Once submitted, a letter of recommendation cannot be edited.
    • Letters of recommendation will not be returned or released after submission.
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