The awards ceremony for the 18th Enable Prize, otherwise known as the National Literary Awards for the Physically or Mentally Handicapped, was held on Oct. 25 at the National Changhua Living Art Center. The purpose of the award is to encourage citizens who are living with disabilities to express their persevering attitude and optimism for life through literature, and serve as a platform for sharing their creations with the public.
Deputy Minister of Culture Hsiao Tsung-huang (蕭宗煌) remarked that in recent years, the Ministry of Culture has been committed to promoting equal rights and access to culture for all citizens. In addition to making art museums more accessible for visitors with disabilities, the Ministry of Culture has continued to promote inclusive services and codify cultural rights, such as the inclusion of Taiwan Sign Language in the National Languages Development Act. These are all steps taken to protect the rights of each person with different needs.
The jury panel mentioned that the submissions this year were quite exceptional and it was hard to select the winning entries. The emotions expressed by each contestant's work were extremely captivating and allowed the reader to engage in their journeys through the eyes of the writer, the panel added.
First-place winner of the college group is Jiang You-jie (姜佑潔), who wrote a narrative about her first trip with her guide dog and the caring strangers she met along the way. For the high school group, first-place winner Si Ke-wei's (司可維) written work was a story of five "tastes" to introduce five different teachers and how they each taught her to understand a different experience — spicy, bitter, sour, sweet, and savory. First-place winner of the junior high school group, Zeng Yu-tong (曾宇彤), wrote about the sky being a worthy companion during lonely times in the past, and that she now has family members and other friends as well.
In addition to submissions from people living with disabilities, there is also another prize category called "Stories of Feelings," which allows partners and friends to share stories of handicapped individuals in their lives. Huang Cai-yue (黃彩月), a teaching assistant and first-place winner of this category, wrote a touching story of assisting and accompanying her student with special needs, Xiao Han (小翰).
The three categories of the Enable Prize this year are literature, illustrated books, and "Stories of Feelings." These three categories are further divided into four groups: elementary, junior high, high school, and college. The winning works will be showcased at an exhibition tour next year to encourage more literary endeavors among people living with disabilities, and offer the public a chance to appreciate and cherish their inspiring creativity.
The full list of winners is available here.