Facebook Twitter insta


Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize

JKS Poetry Prize

UPDATE: The 2019 Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize winner has been announced.


Aaisha Salman has won the $250 cash prize for her poem, Tenants of the Crevice. Aaisha Salman is currently studying South Asian Studies at Columbia. She is a liberal arts graduate from Karachi, Pakistan and her work has appeared in Parentheses Literary Journal, and in the anthology I’ll Find My Way, Oxford University Press, 2014. You can read more details in this DWL blog post, and read the winning poem at this link.


We congratulate all the poets whose work was shortlisted for the final round. We are also grateful to all the poets who submitted their entries and hope that you will participate again.


The Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize is an annual cash prize in the amount of $250 awarded to a writer of poetry self-identifying as Pakistani. The competition for the award usually initiates every year on May 20, the day Mrs. Judith Khan departed from this world. Winners are generally announced in the summer.


The award honors Mrs. Khan’s legacy and her generous spirit. Moreover, the goal of the award is to support artists who either live in or originate from Pakistan. As long as you self-identify as a Pakistani artist, an artist originating from Pakistan, or with roots in Pakistan, you are eligible to participate.


The prize was established in January 2015 and is funded by Mrs. Khan’s former students, Noorulain Noor, Quratulain Noor, and Mahey Noor.


Rakhshan Rizwan won the first annual Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize in 2015. Click here to read the announcement or read Rakhshan’s winning poem.


Orooj-e-Zafar, an Islamabad poet, won the poetry award in 2016. Read the complete announcement on the DWL blog or read the winning entry.


Submissions are currently closed for the contest. Please see this space in 2020 for updates.


Submission Guidelines:


• Submit up to 3 pages of poetry in English in a single Word document (.doc or .docx) to jkmprize [at] gmail [dot] com.


• “Up to 3 pages of poetry” means you can submit as many or as few poems as you like in a single document that should not exceed three pages.


• Please send your email for the contest with the subject line “Poetry Submission”.


• Multiple submissions will not be accepted.


• Just to clarify, you can submit multiple poems in one document that does not exceed three pages. But if you send in a second entry separately after you have already submitted to the contest once, the second entry will not be accepted.


• Poetry must be original and unpublished and may be on any topic and in any form (no translations). We prefer poetry that focuses on language to evoke feeling. We want you to show us your passion and resilience, your courage, and your unique view of the world.


• Include a cover letter in the email body with your name, address, email, and telephone number.


• Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please let us know as soon as your work is accepted for publication elsewhere. Poets whose work is accepted for publication elsewhere will be requested to withdraw it from the contest. The contest administrators reserve the right to disqualify entries that are found to be plagiarized, previously published or accepted for publication during the contest’s submissions period.


• There will be only one winner of the poetry prize. Only the winning entry will be published on the Desi Writers’ Lounge website. The Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize and Desi Writers’ Lounge will get first publication rights for the winning entry. After the announcement of the contest results, the winning poet will be allowed to publish their entry elsewhere provided they credit the Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize.


• The names of all shortlisted poets will be announced in addition to the poetry prize winner.


• All submissions will be considered for publication in Papercuts, the literary magazine of Desi Writers’ Lounge.


• The recipient of the prize is chosen by the award founders. All submissions are judged by a jury that will be evolving on a yearly basis.


• Questions about the competition may be directed to jkmprize [at] gmail [dot] com.


• We will acknowledge individual submissions. The winners and finalists will be announced on this page, and through the social media accounts of Desi Writers’ Lounge in September (information updated).


• Any submissions that do not follow the guidelines will be discarded.


Note: DWL and Papercuts staff members are ineligible to apply for the contest.