After the excellent response to DWL’s 2012 short story contest, we did not have to think twice before we launched the 2013 competition. DWL is proud to have delivered on its promise of holding the contest on an annual basis. We believe this competition reaffirms our mission of helping new voices in contemporary fiction reach a wider audience.
For the DWL Short Story Competition 2013, the response was even better than the previous year. We received nearly four times the number of stories we had received in 2012. Hundreds of writers from all parts of the world, especially young fiction writers from South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora, sent in their entries for the competition.
For the DWL team, 2013 is also a special year because this year DWL, with two benefactors, has proudly launched a new cash incentive for new and contemporary writers: the Dastaan Award. The inaugural Award, worth PKR 50,000, was linked with the 2013 short story competition.
The stories we received for the contest this year dealt with a wide range of social issues and covered almost all genres of fiction, from crime to science fiction. After a comprehensive judging process, which involved several rounds of short listing, a panel of judges has picked the following stories as the winners of the 2013 competition:
Rear View by Sucharita Dutta-Asane
Sucharita Dutta-Asane has also been declared the winner of the inaugural Dastaan Award.
Sucharita Dutta-Asane is a writer and independent fiction editor based in Pune. In 2008, she received Oxford Bookstores debuting writers’ (second) prize for her anthology, The Jungle Stories. Her short stories have appeared in various national and international anthologies such as the Africa-Asia anthology Behind the Shadows (Amazon Kindle), 2012 and Zubaan’s Breaking the Bow, an anthology of speculative fiction based on The Ramayana (2012). Her articles, book reviews, short stories, and a novella, Petals in the Sun, have been extensively published across electronic publications, such as Asian Cha, among others.
Judges’ note: Sucharita Dutta-Asane has written a remarkable story that deftly and delicately breaks down the awful spectre of big-city violence. On a technical level, the piece meets almost all the traditional criteria of a ‘good story’, but the writer’s real triumph lies in the way she controls her audience, gently manipulating and guiding the reader to an end that will change the way most of us think about the cities we inhabit. Read Rear View.
Two Flew Over by Geralyn Pinto
Geralyn Pinto lives life between a page and a stage. By day she teaches and at night she is a serious creative writer. Her creative work, which includes poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction, has been featured in Indian and international journals, webzines and anthologies. She has won recognition at national and worldwide creative writing contests, the most recent of these being the Human Rights Poetry Competition organized by the Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London for her poem ‘Shot through with Metal’. In 2010, her short story ‘Two Is Company’ won the First Prize in the Unisun- Reliance TimeOut Creative Writing Contest. A gifted actress she has performed on stage in her hometown, Mangalore, in coastal Karnataka, India, and directs plays at St Agnes College (Autonomous) where she serves as Head, Department of English. She is a member of the British-based online creative writers group ‘Alibi Writers’. Geralyn is engaged in writing her first novel.
Judges’ note: If you want to meet someone who knows how to “pack a punch,” then Geralyn Pinto is your woman. “Two Flew Over” is a succinct yet impressive story that will leave you pleasantly surprised. An articulate piece that skillfully mixes metaphors, is witty, humorous and highlights more than a few social problems. Read Two Flew Over.
Sharaf Zia is a graduate student in psychology by day, a writer by night, a statistician by aspiration and an economist by mistake. He wants to do it all and therefore does nothing. He lives in New York and is, like many great writers, at the moment homeless.
Judges’ note: The protagonist in Foodie seems to hate irrationality and tries to make sense of the world around him through food. But as the world, and the character’s life, gets more nonsensical, he must make a journey toward home, food and meaning. It is a tricky subject but Sharaf Zia pulls it off neatly. His descriptions are great and the narrative flows smoothly toward that porcelain dish on the dinner table.
Congratulations to the winners! They all receive a copy of Mohsin Hamid’s novel How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.
A Handful by Nur Nasreen Ibrahim
Distilled by A Ray
Don’t forget to read winning entries from other editions of the DWL short story competition.