Located in Mohali The first female recipient of the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi literature is Deepti Babuta.

Located in Mohali The biggest international literary prize for Punjabi fiction books, the Dhahan Prize, was won by Deepti Babuta, a woman for the first time.

Babuta was given the prize for her collection of short stories, “Hunger Breathes Like This” (Bhukh Aeon Sah Laindi Hai). At a ceremony on Thursday at Surrey, British Columbia, Canada’s Northview Golf and Country Club, she was given a trophy and a monetary prize of $25,000 CAD.

She received $10,000 CAD together with two other finalists, Jameel Ahmad Paul of Lahore and Balijit of Mohali.

In its ten-year history, this is the first time a woman has won the top prize.

Barj Dhahan, the founder of the prize, said, “In Punjabi arts and literary circles, women are often underrepresented. We started this award with an open system to consider any new works of fiction in the Punjabi language, from any author of any background. We are proud to say that after 10 years, we are announcing our first female winner, solely on basis of the quality of work produced.”

After receiving the award, Babuta said, “Words are my life. But today I am speechless. This achievement is not mine alone. It is of every woman who starts fighting the war of her dreams from home. Then, she fights for opportunities in the world and shows she can succeed.”

Ahmad Paul, one of the finalists and the author of ‘Mendal Da Qanoon’ (‘Mendelian Rules’), a short story collection written in the Shahmukhi script, said, “The happiest day in my life was when Zubair Ahmad and then Barj Dhahan called me with the news I had been waiting to hear…Writing in Punjabi has been my meditation. And more so now because my book of stories has been awarded the Dhahan Prize. ”

Balijit, the other finalist, who penned the short story collection, ‘Uchian Awazan’ (‘Clarion Calls’), said, “Every Punjabi writer, whether living in West and East Punjab, or other corners of the world, dreams to have the Dhahan Prize come knocking on their door. As a writer and an ordinary man, I am happy and proud to have my book be a finalist for this year’s Dhahan Prize.”

The University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Canada India Education Society (CIES) founded the Dhahan Prize in 2013 to provide a forum for aspiring and established writers to share their work with a wider, multilingual audience.

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