KARACHI: Pakistani authors show potential
By Our Staff Reporter
Saturday, 17 Oct, 2009
KARACHI, Oct 16: The winners of the ‘Life’s Too Short’ short story competition have been announced and organisers plan to publish the winning entries as well as the short-listed stories in a literary journal.

Sadaf Halai won the Rs100,000 prize for Lucky People; Aziz Sheikh won the Rs20,000 prize for The Six-Fingered Man while Rayika Choudri won the Rs10,000 cash prize for Settling Affairs.

The competition intends to promote Pakistani English language literature and will be an annual event. Eight hundred entries were received for the competition while some of the country’s most respected English writers, including Mohammed Hanif, Daniyal Mueenuddin and Kamila Shamsie, served as judges.

“We were by and large very pleased by the standard of submissions, especially the range of subject matter, a great deal of which was very bold and bypassed the tendency to write orientalised grandmother-and-mango-orchards stories. It really did feel as if Pakistanis were writing to be read by other Pakistanis instead of trying to flog clichéd notions of the country.

“The best stories were the ones which dealt with smaller subjects; the less strong ones pontificated on grand issues and indulged in too much telling and not enough showing. The judges were duly impressed by the standard of the short list, giving it a ‘big thumbs up’,” editor and columnist Faiza S. Khan, one of the administrators of the competition, told Dawn.

A selection of the judges’ recommended stories shall be published in the first volume of The Life’s Too Short Review, a literary journal published in association with the British Council. The journal shall not just showcase new fiction but also work from established authors, as well as advice and practical information for upcoming writers, the organisers’ press release adds.

“We’re really looking forward to publishing the winning three and the shortlist, bringing it to a total of 10 stories, in an anthology at the beginning of next year to show people what we’re capable of. I hope this marks the beginning of a long-standing competition, with the standard rising every year, as past winners provide new writers with tips on form and structure”, said Ms Khan.