Desi Writers’ Lounge (DWL) is always on the look-out for talented writers to encourage and promote. Our annual short story competition, which began in 2012, aims to unearth new talent in fiction from all around the world. We have also started managing a new poetry prize from 2015.
Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize
The $250 cash award is funded by Papercuts Associate Editor Noorulain Noor and her husband Usman Saeed. The prize commemorates the life and work of Mrs. Judith Khan, a Lahore-based educator, who died in 2014. The annual prize will be given to one writer of poetry in English, who self-identifies as a Pakistani. For submission guidelines and information about deadline, please visit the Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize page on our website.
Annual Short Story Competition
The winners of the 2017 DWL Short Story Contest have been announced. We received an overwhelming response to our call for short stories this year and we’re grateful to our community of writers for it. The 2017 contest offered three $100 cash prizes and DWL is proud to have continued its partnership into the fifth year with the Dastaan Award worth PKR 50,000 or approximately $500 for one of the three winners of the contest.
Results of the 2016 DWL Short Story Contest have been announced. Please visit the 2016 contest page for more details.
The idea of organising writing contests under DWL’s banner had always existed in some form or the other since the online community got its own web space in 2006. The DWL Forums administrators conducted several in-house challenges including story contests. But it wasn’t until six years later that the DWL team decided to go ahead with its first-ever public short story competition. The competition was meant to bolster DWL’s support for new writing.
With little preparation, the team announced the 2012 competition. Any writer from anywhere in the world could participate. We had little or no expectations about the response from writers. One of the limitations of running a voluntary organisation is that we are always in need of financial support ourselves. At that time, naturally we couldn’t offer a monetary prize that could compete with prestigious global writing contests. We offered books as prizes, instead.
The first competition entries started arriving in the summer of 2012 and we have not looked back since.
The DWL Short Story Competition 2012 was a tremendous learning experience for the team. Most of all, however, we were deeply impressed by not just the quantity but also the quality of stories we received for the competition.
We knew we had to turn this competition in to an annual contest.
The DWL Short Story Competition 2013 was a bigger success. We received over four hundred entries from all over the world. The stories we got from the South Asian region made us especially proud. We had to put in more resources for judging the stories and, with the help of a generous benefactor, we were able to link a new financial incentive, the Dastaan Award, with the short story contest for the first time.
The 2014 annual competition exceeded the previous two competitions in quantity and quality. This time we received more than 300 stories and our jury declared the stories in our shortlist to be the toughest to judge so far in the contest’s history. DWL announced the 2014 Dastaan Award winner and the three winners of the 2014 competition on September 15, 2014.
The 2015 annual competition received more entries from international writers outside the South Asian region than ever before, making the contest truly international. DWL announced the 2015 Dastaan Award winner and the three winners of the 2015 competition on September 15, 2015, keeping up with its annual tradition.
Note: Writers retain the rights to the stories they submit for the short story competition. Three winners are selected for the contest each year. The three winning stories are published on DWL’s website and considered for Papercuts magazine’s print edition. For the three winning stories, first publication rights are with DWL and/or Papercuts magazine. After that, the winning authors are free to publish anywhere, as long as due credit is given to the DWL short story competition and/or Papercuts magazine.
Don’t miss the winning entries from the previous competitions.