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The Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize
        Winners of first annual Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature announced
Punjabi short stories book wins Canadian literary prize

Submission now open for 2015 Dhahan Prize in Punjabi
The Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize
Winners of first annual Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature announced

Avtar Singh Billing

AFTER receiving over 70 eligible entries from 5 countries around the world, the winner of the $25,000 Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature is Avtar Singh Billing’s novel Khali Khoohaan di
Katha (The Story of Empty Wells).

Based in Vancouver, Canada, The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature aims to inspire the creation of Punjabi literature across borders, bridging Punjabi communities around the world, and promoting Punjabi literature on a global scale.

The Dhahan Prize awards $25,000 CDN annually to one “best book in fiction” published in either of the two Punjabi scripts, Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. Two runner-up prizes of $5,000 are also awarded, with the provision that both scripts are represented among the three winners. The Dhahan Prize is awarded by Canada India Education Society (CIES) in partnership with the Department of Asian Studies in the Faculty of Arts at University of British Columbia (UBC). The prize is funded by an endowment from Barj and Rita Dhahan, and family and friends.

The winners of the inaugural Dhahan Prize in Punjabi Literature are:
* First Prize of $25,000: Khali Khoohaan di Katha (Novel) by Avtar Singh Billing (Gurmukhi script)
* Runner-up Prize of $5,000: Ik Raat da Samunder (Short stories) by Jasbir Bhullar (Gurmukhi script)

Jasbir Bhullar

* Runner-up Prize of $5,000: Kbooter, Bnairy te Galian (Short stories) by Zubair Ahmed (Shahmukhi script)

“I feel happy and lucky to be the first author to win the prestigious, inaugural Dhahan Prize in Punjabi Literature,” said Billing, author of Khali Khoohan di Katha. “[Canada India Education Society] and the University of British Columbia have really created history by establishing such a unique, international award for Punjabi fiction. I feel proud that the Punjabi literary world found my sixth novel worthy of this honour.”

Punjabi literature has a long and rich literary heritage and is produced around the world. Barj S. Dhahan, co-founder of CIES said: “Punjabi has been a Canadian language for 115 years and it is exciting that this prize is uniquely a Canadian undertaking.”

The Prize Advisory Committee has been central to developing an independent and impartial jury of senior writers and scholars to adjudicate the prize. Professor Anne Murphy, chair of the prize advisory committee said: “We have three juries: one to choose Shahmukhi books, one for Gurmukhi books, and one Central Jury that determines the winner. There is no overlap among the juries and the names of members are not disclosed until after adjudication is complete. It is crucial that we always maintain a strong and fair process.”

On Friday, October 24, the Dhahan Prize will host a public reading at SFU Surrey from 6:30 – 8 p.m., followed by a reception. Prize winners will read from their winning books in Punjabi, with translation to English. The evening is co-presented with SFU World Literature Program, and will include a question and answer portion, as well as a reception to mingle with our honoured guests. The next day, on Saturday, October 25, the winners of the Dhahan Prize in Punjabi Literature will be honoured at a gala reception at the Museum of Anthropology at University of British Columbia.


Zubair Ahmed

Source: http://www.voiceonline.com/winners-of-first-annual-dhahan-prize-for-punjabi-literature-announced/
More information can be found at www.dhahanprize.com


Punjabi short stories book wins Canadian literary prize
Shahab Ansari

RENOWNED Punjabi poet and short story-writer from Pakistan, Zubair Ahmad’s book of short stories ‘Kabooter, Banaire te Galiaan’ in Punjabi, has won the first-ever prestigious Canadian Literary Prize ‘Dahan International Punjabi Literature Prize.’

Zubair Ahmad was born in Lahore in 1958. He is an Assistant Professor, teaching English at Old Islamia College. Zubair has many short stories and poems in Punjabi language, both in Shahmukhi and Gurmukhi scripts. He has Dam Yadnakeeta (poetry) 1996, Meehn, Boohe te Barian (short fiction) 2001, Kabooter, Banare te Galiaan (short fiction in the Gurmukhi script) 2008, Lok Geet Parkshan, Chandigrah Sadd (poetry) 2012, on his credit. Zubair has many of his articles on various literary topics published in the National English papers, including The News International. He has also done some translations in English. As an advocate of Punjabi language and literature, Zubair has played a very active role in all the activities for the promotion of Punjabi language and literature in Pakistan since 1975.

The First Dahan International Punjabi Literary Prize, which is a Canadian equivalent of the British Booker Prize, has been bestowed on Zubair Ahmed for his collection of short stories in Punjabi ‘Kabooter, Banare te Galiaan,’ which is basically a recollection of the times and the people in the writers life who have now passed away. It is an account of the writer’s personal experiences in the good old days of his youth and the environment he lived in back in the 70’s and 80’s. Zubair Ahmad is the first Pakistani to win this prize along with other Punjabi writers from India, Avtar Singh Billing for his novel Khali Khoohan Di Katha and Ek Raat Da Samunder (short stories) By Jasbir Bhullar.

The Dahan award jury has commented about Zubair’s works as: ‘Zubair Ahmad’s short stories in his book Kabooter, Banaire Te Galiaan are inspired by both the usual and unusual, by what actually happens and what may happen. Such happenings, tangible and intangible, provide the material that can become stuff of artistic narrative. Even non-happenings like dreams are, for him, nothing less than fragments of untold and untellable stories in need of narration and description. An important theme of Zubair’s stories is time; how it changes or transforms things, making the alive dead and the dead alive. In his stories, the forgotten past appears as a known and familiar territory, and the unforgettable present becomes a path leading to a deviously uncertain and uncertainly devious nowhere. It is there that his characters dwell. Nostalgia evokes dreams and dreams beget nostalgia. Sensitively constructed stories with artistic care reveal what we live with at both a conscious and sub-conscious level, connected to a past we think we have lost, and disconnected from a future we have yet to understand.’

It is pertinent to mention that Punjabi language has a rich history, with an extensive literature to match. It is written in two scripts - Gurmukhi (in the Indian Punjab) and Shahmukhi (in the Pakistani Punjab) and while the cultural region of Punjab has been split into two separate nation states since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, Punjabi culture or ‘Punjabiyat’ persists across borders, and across scripts. Punjabi is the language of 120 million speakers globally, and is the fifth most commonly spoken language in Canada. In South Asia, there are an estimated 29 million Punjabi speakers in India and 76 million in Pakistan.

The Dahan International Punjabi Literature Prize has been founded in Canada to celebrate the rich history and living present of Punjabi language and literature around the globe. A cash prize of $25,000 CDN is to be awarded annually to one ‘best book’ in either Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. Two runner-up prizes of $5,000 CDN will be awarded, one for each script. The prize is being supported by an advisory committee of scholars and authors from Canada, United States, India and Pakistan. The mandate of the committee is to ensure fairness and equity, and to oversee process.

Chairs Anne Murphy, Assistant Professor and Chair, Punjabi Language, Literature, and Sikh Studies Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, Crawford Family Professor of Religion and Department Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Colby College (Maine, USA). Members Farrukh Khan, Associate Professor, Lahore Institute for Management Sciences (Pakistan) Rana Nayyar, Professor at Punjab University, Chandigarh (India) Fauzia Rafique, Prominent Punjabi author (Canada) Ajmer Rode, Prominent Punjabi author (Canada) Guriqbal Singh Sahota, Assistant Professor, University of California (Santa Cruz, USA) Raghbir Singh, Professor at Punjab University, Chandigarh (India) and former Head of Department of Punjabi at Punjab University, Patiala (India) Zaheer Wattoo, Author and editor of the Punjabi Language Quarterly Journal Sangry (Pakistan) Ranbir Johal, Prize Research Assistant, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada).

The winners of this first-ever Literary prize by Dahan International, will be honoured at an annual Gala, held in Vancouver in its inaugural year and at alternative host cities around the world subsequently.

The prize will be awarded by Canada India Education Society (CIES) in partnership with University of British Columbia (UBC)
Curtsey:The news, Friday, September 26, 2014 

The idea behind $25,000 Punjabi literature prize
Shahab Ansari

 It all started with a painful discovery during an acute bout of depression, when it dawned on him that he had been deceiving his own roots, his own mother tongue by not giving it the deserving place in his life, and Barj.S.Dhahan decided to establish a $25,000 Dhahan International Punjabi literature prize.

This was revealed by Barj.S.Dhahan, the founder of Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize, while announcing the biggest Punjabi language literary prize in the world at a crowded ceremony glittering with the Punjabi language scholars and literati in a local hotel here.

Dhahan announced that in Canada he went into a depressive mode for sometime. He went to see a psychologist, who, after many sessions, pointed out that Dhahan had something was occupying him, something pressing him down. Then suddenly the psychologist revealed to him that it seemed as if he had deceived someone in his life and that deceit was actually the burden on his mind & soul. At this juncture in his life, Barj realized that he owed a lot to his mother tongue and decided there and then to do something for his mother tongue. Thus the International Prize came into being.

He announced that the first Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize worth $25000 would be announced in Vancouver, Canada, in October 2014.He further informed that two high level juries, one for Shah Mukhi and the other for Grumukhi script, would choose the winner and a grand jury comprising all the members of the two juries would finally decide the winner from the entries from all over the world. He termed the great initiative a unique vehicle not only for the promotion of Punjabi language and literature, but also a precious platform to bring people of Indo-Pakistan together.

Earlier, Saroop Singh Maan, President Canada& Indian Education Foundation, Aziz Ullah Khan, former MNA, Punjabi poet & broadcaster Nasreen Anjum Bhatti, Prof.

Saeed Bhutta, Iqbal Qaisar and other paid rich tributes to Barj.S.Dhahan and his associates for this great initiative for Punjabi language and literature.

Curtsey:The News, Monday, November 18, 2013 


Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

The Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize has been founded to celebrate the rich history and living present of Punjabi language and literature, around the globe. A cash prize of $25,000 CDN will be awarded annually to one ‘best book’ in either Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. Two runner-up prizes of $5,000 CDN will be awarded, one for each script. Winners will be honored at an annual Gala, held in Vancouver in its inaugural year and at alternative host cities around the world subsequently.

The Prize will be awarded by Canada India Education Society (CIES) in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC). CIES has an over twenty-year history of success in leading educational, community development, healthcare and job creation projects in India. Guided by a strong interest in Punjab, the  Society partners in this venture with the Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts at UBC, which is home to one of the largest and longest standing Punjabi language programs outside of South Asia. The aim of this partnership is to highlight the literature of a rich and passionate language that can speak not only to Punjabis around the world, but to all.

The success of the Scotiabank Giller prizes in fostering recognition of Canadian literature encouraged the formation of the Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize. The Dhahan Prize will expose a neglected cultural product to a new market – the global Punjabi population – and draw attention to transnational cultural production that crosses borders and community boundaries. It will not only directly benefit writers and inspire new writing in the language, but also bring new attention to writing in Punjabi in general, within a broader community. The Prize will entice new readership and ideally, the translation of works from Punjabi into English. It will also bring crucial material support to writers already active in the field.

Punjabi literature speaks in a language we can all understand; this Prize will give us a chance to hear it.

Source: http://www.asia.ubc.ca/2013/09/12/the-dhahan-international-punjabi-literature-prize/






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