Short Story Contest: Life’s too Short… So, Hurry Up and Submit Your Masterpiece

Posted on June 3, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Art & Literature
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Adil Najam

The first time I heard about ‘Life’s Too Short’ – the Short Story Prize and Competition for Pakistani authors – I remember thinking, “What a great idea.” Every time I have thought about it since then – and I have thought about it often – it strikes me that this is an even better idea than I first thought it was.

The sentence structure of that opening paragraph demonstrates why I should not be submitting an entry for this competition. But I do hope that at least a few people reading this will do so, if they have not already. The submission deadline is June 30, 2009 – so if you are an aspiring short story writer of Pakistani origin, do submit soon!

First, the basics. Life’s Too Short is a short story (n English) competition for Pakistani authors: the top three authors will be given prizes of Rs. 100,000, Rs 20,000 and Rs. 10,000 respectively and – and this is far more important – the ten best stories selected by the judges will be published as an anthology.

Sponsored by the Z.Z. and Zohra Ahmed Foundation and administered by Faiza S. Khan and Aysha Raja, the rules for the competition are simple:

  • Participants must be of Pakistani origin.
  • The stories may have any theme or subject, but should not exceed 5,000 words.
  • The stories must be original and should not have been previously published anywhere in full or part.
  • All entries must be in English.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Entries will not be returned or acknowledged.
  • Winners will assign publication rights to the Z.Z. and Zohra Ahmed Foundation for a period of 2 years.
  • Administrators of the prize reserve the right to disqualify any entry without any correspondence in this regard.
  • Only winners will be notified.
  • Poetry will not be accepted.
  • Entries must be emailed to ‘The life’s too short short story prize’ should be written on the subject line of the email. The short story should be the body of the email. Emails with attachments will not be considered. Each entry must include the name, address, telephone number(s) and email address of the writer.
  • Submission deadline is June 30, 2009.

The entries will be judged by three remarkable young Pakistani fiction writers – each of whom has attained much international acclaim by writing on distinctively Pakistani subjects in distinctively Pakistani idiom: Mohammad Hanif (A Case of Exploding Mangoes), Daniyal Mueenuddin (In Other Rooms, Other Wonders), Kamila Shamsie (Burnt Shadows). Pakistani authors writing in English – notably including the three judges of this competition – are generating a lot of international enthusiasm for their work. The anthology that comes out of this is bound to also generate interest – in Pakistan and abroad. But much more importantly, the competition will honor a life of the letters and hopefully help foster a new – more intellectual – set of role models in society.

While I myself am unlikely to be submitting, I am very much looking forward to reading the winning entries and the anthology that comes out of this. A little more than a year ago I had written a post titled “Do Pakistanis Read?” What could be better than to see more Pakistanis not just reading, but writing things that other Pakistanis – and people around the world – read!

45 responses to “Short Story Contest: Life’s too Short… So, Hurry Up and Submit Your Masterpiece”

  1. zenab says:

    Any idea, who the shortlisted candidates are?

  2. Nostalgic says:

    I don’t think there is a new date per se… they will wait for the judge, and I think this time Ms. Raja will announce on facebook when the emails have been sent out… I hope…

  3. Kreacher says:

    What’s the new date? Is it going to be November 30 or sumthing. The competition was called life’s too short but by the looks of it, it can be made excruciatingly long due to a competition. C’mon ppl. Decide and announce.

  4. Nostalgic says:

    Well, the administrator Aysha Raja answered on Facebook… she is still waiting for one of the judges to hand in his (she said his, so it is either Mr. Mueenuddin or Mr. Hanif) verdict… so the emails to the winners have definitely not gone out…

    Back to being on tenterhooks…

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