Onkyo Braille Essay Contest

Braille machine
Each year, Onkyo and the Braille Mainichi, two Japanese technology companies, sponsor an international contest to inspire people with stories about braille.

The contest is broken down into international regions and countries. The European section is co-ordinated by the European Blind Union (EBU). Its members in 45 European countries are responsible for the collection, selection and translation of the essays into English. In the UK, RNIB acts as the EBU representative and co-ordinates all UK entries.

This year’s competition

RNIB’s looking for entrants for this year’s competition. If you teach, learn, use, or know somebody who uses braille, this competition could be your chance to show off your creative writing talents and win some extra pocket money at the same time.
British entrants can compete for the European Prize by sending their entries to RNIB, we’ll then select the best five essays to represent the UK.
We’re looking for people to inspire others to find out more about braille and hopefully learn it.  Here are some suggested themes, this is just for guidance, you can make up your own: 
  • How braille furthers visually impaired people's participation in political, economic, cultural, social and family life
  • Braille in the age of technology, using braille at all ages, braille and voting
  • Life with braille, those who use braille in any way or who would like to use it
  • Potential innovation, products and ideas for promoting braille throughout Europe
  • Amusing stories about braille
  • The future of braille
  • The advantages and disadvantages of braille over speech synthesizers and recorded books and documents
  • Braille and art, music or access to tourism.
The themes are very broad, and we welcome both factual and creative writing. Most importantly, the essay should be original, imaginative and inspiring. The competition is open to all users of braille (including sighted braille readers), and all ages.
The essay doesn't have to be long and can be any style, perhaps a poem, interview, or letter.

Sun shining with clouds
Need some inspiration?

Check out one of last year’s winners, 25-year-old James Scholes.

Download James’ winning essay, Rural Dots    

The other essays selected to represent the UK in last year’s European final can be read below:

All essays have been reproduced by kind permission of the European Blind Union.

Other winning European essays can be found on the EBU website.

How to enter

Step 1: Write your inspirational essay. It can be up to 1000 words long (with 10 per cent leeway)

Step 2: Before the title of your essay insert the following information:

  • Full name, sex and age
  • Country (UK)
  • Name of the EBU national member processing the entry (RNIB)
  • Number of words 

Step 3 – Download and complete the entry form. Entries won’t be accepted without a completed form

Step 4 – Read the competition rules

Step 5 – Email your completed essay and entry form to [email protected] by 8 June 2018.

Alternatively, post to: Tarney Smith Hughes, RNIB, Midgate House, Midgate, Peterborough, PE1 1TN to arrive no later than 31 May 2018. 

Download the entry form and competition rules (Word, 56KB) 

Further information

Essays are submitted to the EBU in electronic format, so a Word document is preferred. If you’d like to submit your entry in hard copy (either braille or print), we can transcribe your work into an electronic format for you.

We’ll acknowledge your entry on receipt and will announce the results of the UK judging by 30 June 2018.

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