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 2014 Dastaan Award goes to New Delhi-based writer Anubha Yadav for her story The Song of Bismil.
Yadav is a a writer, academic and film-maker based in New Delhi. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Wasafiri, Jaggery, Himal, The Indian Literature, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Out of Print, and others. She has been shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing, 2013. Her work can also be read here.
For the judges’ note on Yadav’s story, visit our list of winners of the 2014 Short Story Competition. Or Read Yadav’s story: The Song of Bismil.
The first-ever Dastaan Award went to Sucharita Dutta-Asane in 2013. Click here to read more about Sucharita and the story that won her the award.
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At present, the award is only available for original, unpublished short stories submitted through the DWL annual short story competition.