Surrey novelist named a finalist in literary competition

Grand prize winner Pargat Singh Sartoji of Punjab, India, won $25,000 for his novel Khabar Ik Pind Di (News From A Village). Finalist prizes of $5,000 each were given to Ali Anward Ahmad of Punjab, Pakistan for his short story collection Tand Tand Maili Chaadar (Filthy Chardor (Sheet)) in Shahmukhi and Nachhattar Singh Brar of Surrey, BC. His novel was called Paper Marriage in Gurmikhi.

Natchhattar Singh Brar was a $5,000 finalist in the Inaugural Dhahan Prize Youth Awards for his novel Paper Marriage (Kaagzi Viaah). He was raised in Janare, Punjab, India. When he joined the Indian Air Force, he earned a Master’s Degree in Punjabi and a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. He later taught with the Punjab Technical Education Department.

Brar settled in Surrey, BC in 1996 and worked as a supervisor in a security company. When he was 62, he wrote his first novel called Kaehri Rutae Ay (Which Season (we) Arrived). His latest novel ‘Paper Marriage’ is about deceit, cunning and human compassion set in the context of a sham marriage to gain immigration into Canada.

Pargat Singh had his first short story published in 2002. He has also written poetry and fiction. He released his collection of poems, Tera Pind, in 2008. His first novel, Bhagoo, was a hit with readers in 2009. Bhartiya Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters) awarded Sartoji the prestigious ‘Young Writer Award in 2012 for his novel, Teevian. His short story collection Ghalt Malt Zindgi received attention in 2014. Many of these stories have been translated and published in Hindi, Urdu and Rajasthani. Singh has a Master’s Degree in Punjabi and History. He teaches primary school in his ancestral home village, Satoj in the Sangrur district of Punjab, India.

Finalist Ali Anwar Ahmad from Kasur, Pakistan, won $5,000 for his short story Tand Tand Maili Chaadar (Filthy Chador (Sheet)). Hailing from Kasur (Pakistan), Ahmad has been a school teacher for 27 years. He has a Bachelor in Education and a Master’s Degree in Urdu. Drawing inspiration from the historic Punjabi poets of the region, he published his first collection of poems Akh Samundar Hoee (Eye Becomes Ocean).

Encouraged by his literary friends, Ahmad started writing short stories. He received the prestigious Masood Khadar Posh Trust Award in 2002 for the short story collection, Insan and Sup (Man and Viper).

British Columbia Grade 11 and 12 students were invited to submit short stories in Punjabi and translated into English. Eight Punjabi language students enrolled in Punjabi language programs will receive $500 prizes each.

Leave a comment