Surrey resident Harpreet Sekha is $10,000 richer thanks to a writing prize for best Punjabi-language fiction.
His “Prism” collection of short stories is a 2018 winner of the Dhanan Prize for Punjabi Literature, contest organizers announced Thursday (Sept. 13) during an event held at the SFU Surrey campus.
The Dhahan Prize celebrates “the rich culture and transnational heritage of Punjabi literature and language,” according to a post at dhahanprize.com. “The prize aims to promote the growth of Punjabi language globally, as well as encourage new, emerging, and established writers working in the two Punjabi scripts, Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi.”
Written in Gurmukhi script, Sekha’s “Prism” is an award finalist, which comes with a $10,000 prize.
The first prize of $25,000 went to Indian writer Baldev Singh (for his “Sun’s Eye” novel, or “Sooraj Dee Akh”). A second finalist was Pakistan’s Nasir Baloch, for his “Everything Goes” short stories, or “Jhootha Saacha Koi Na.”
The Dhahan Prize was established in Vancouver by the Canada India Education Society in partnership with the Department of Asian Studies in the Faculty of Arts at UBC.
“The 2018 Dhahan Prize winners are well recognized for their creative works, representing the three Punjabs – West, East and Diasporic,” stated Barj S. Dhahan, founder of the prize.
“Their themes and stories are relevant and timely contributions in understanding the past and the fast changing cultures in the global village.”
Also announced Thursday were details about the 2018 Dhahan Prize Youth Award in creative writing for B.C. Grade 11 and 12 students enrolled in Punjabi language classes. Sponsored by Coast Capital Savings, eight prizes of $500 each will be awarded at the Dhahan Prize ceremony, set for Oct. 20 at UBC.