In 2013, Desi Writers’ Lounge started a PKR 50,000 cash prize for one selected winner of its annual short story competition. The prize, called the Dastaan Award, has been set up by Ali Azfar Naqvi and Afia Aslam to support new writing and can be awarded to a writer based anywhere in the world.
The 2015 Dastaan Award goes to UK-based Indian writer Deepa Anappara for her story After a Hijacking
Deepa Anappara is a freelance writer and editor from India currently based in the UK. Her short stories have been published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology (Volume 6), Once Upon a Time There was a Traveller: Asham Award-winning stories, Five Degrees: The Asian Short Story Prize 2012 Anthology and Beyond the Border. She is about to start her master’s degree in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.
For the judges’ note on Anappara’s story, visit our list of winners of the 2015 Short Story Competition. Or read the story: After a Hijacking.
The first-ever Dastaan Award went to Sucharita Dutta-Asane in 2013 and the second annual prize was won by Anubha Yadav in 2014. Click here to read more about Sucharita and Anubha and their stories.
More about the Dastaan Award
Dastaan is the Persian word for ‘tale’. The South Asian dastaan was typically an epic text that was transmitted through dastaan-goi or oral storytelling. Some of the most famous dastaans known to the world are Dastaan-e Amir Hamza (The Adventures of Amir Hamza) and Tilism-e Hoshruba (Enchantment of the Senses). In the Urdu language, ‘dastaan’ has a wider meaning including long epics, stories, and even single incidents, but the word retains the feeling of a powerful and interesting narrative that engages its audience at every level. We are setting up the Dastaan Award in this spirit: to recognize and reward truly compelling storytelling.
At present, the award is only available for original, unpublished short stories submitted through the DWL annual short story competition.