Kesra Ram of Haryana’s Sirsa has won the 2020 Dhahan Prize for Punjabi literature for his anthology of short stories, ‘Zanani Paud’ (Female flower). The award carrying a cash prize of $25,000 is annually given to the best fiction book published in either Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi scripts, along with two additional finalist prizes of $10,000 CDN.
The finalist prize, along with a cash prize of $10,000, was given to ‘Panni Di Kandh’ (Wall of Water), short stories by Zubair Ahmad from Lahore. The book is in Shahmukhi. The other finalist, who won a reward of $10,000 was ‘Aadam Grehan’ (Humanity’s Eclipse), a novel by Harkirat Kaur Chahal from Canada.
“These books touch upon the themes of memory, loss, pain, trauma from abuse and violence, and the long journey of hope and healing. We are thrilled to be making history by awarding Dhahan Prize to a female author, Harkirat, for the first time,” says Barj S Dhahan. “Her novel is a gripping account of human longingfor intimacy, belonging, and acceptance by those whoare marginalized and oppressed due to their ambiguous gender identification.”
The Dhahan Prize is the largest literary award in South Asia’s indigenous languages celebrating the rich history of the Punjabi literature.