About - Advisory Committee

About - Advisory Committee

Raghbir Singh, Chair


Born in the year 1939 in a village in Ludhiana district of Punjab, Dr. Raghbir Singh is an eminent literary critic and scholar of Punjabi language. He has worked as a teacher at Panjab University Chandigarh for thirty years, and was also Professor and Head of the Department of Punjabi at Punjabi University, Patiala. Since 1965, he has edited a literary quarterly entitled Sirjana, a journal that has contributed to shaping new trends and introducing young talent in Punjabi literature. He has penned, edited, translated, and transcribed about a dozen books, Yathaarthi being the foremost book of literary criticism. He was General Secretary of the Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, the representative organization of Punjabi writers. He has also been the main functionary of the Punjab Sahitya Academy and Punjab Arts Council, set up by the Punjab Government.

Dr. Raghbir Singh has received several awards and honours, which include a fellowship with the Punjabi Sahit Sabha, New Delhi and the Shiromani Sahitak Patarkar Award of the Punjab Government

About - Advisory Committee

Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh


Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh (Ph.D. Temple) has published extensively in the field of Sikhism, including Of Sacred and Secular Desire, An Anthology of Lyrical Writings from the Punjab (IB Tauris 2012), Sikhism: An Introduction (IB Tauris 2011), The Feminine Principle in the Sikh Vision of the Transcendent (1993), The Name of My Beloved: Verses of the Sikh Gurus (1995; 2001). Over the years she has received many awards including Phi Beta Kappa, Durant Scholar, Best Paper, Daughters of the American Revolution Award, Outstanding Young Women of America Award, a Senior Fellow at Harvard University, and a Fellowship from Punjabi University. She has received honors from the Sikh community for her distinguished scholarship including the Outstanding Accomplishments Award (presented by Sikh Association of Fresno, California), Sewa Award by the Sikh-Canadian Centennial Foundation for Scholarship on Sikhism (Toronto), and Guru Gobind Singh Foundation Lecture and Award (Chandigarh, India). She serves as a trustee for the American Institute for Indian Studies, and is on the editorial board of the History of Religions.

About - Advisory Committee

Prem Mann


Prem Mann received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has taught Economics at SGGS College, Chandigarh, California State University system, and at Eastern Connecticut State University where he was chair of the Department of Economics for more than 20 years. During 2004-05, he received the Excellence in Teaching award at Eastern. He has published many articles related to economics in refereed journals and has written four books – Introductory StatisticsStatistics for Business and EconomicsStatistics Using Technology, and Practitioner’s Guide for Statistics and Lean Six Sigma for Process Improvements (a co-authored book). Introductory Statistics book has been translated into Chinese, Serbian, and Portuguese languages, and Statistics for Business and Economics has been translated into Chinese language. Both of these books have been published in paperback international editions. Prem Mann has published two literary books in Punjabi – one book, Chubare Di Itt, of short stories, and a second book, Palkaan Dakke Hanjhu, of gazals. He has published many short stories, poems, and essays in many Punjabi literary magazines. He hosted a Punjabi literary show, Saavey Pattar, on Jus Punjabi TV (USA) for two years from 2008 to 2010.

About - Advisory Committee

Sadhu Binning


Sadhu Binning, a retired UBC language instructor, has authored and co-authored more than seventeen books of poetry, fiction, plays, translations and research. His works have been included in close to fifty anthologies, both in Punjabi and English. He edited a literary monthly Watno Dur and co-edits a quarterly, Watan. He is a founding member of Vancouver Sath, a theatre collective, and Ankur. He sat on the BC Arts Board from 1993 to 1995. He has been an active member of a number of literary and cultural organizations, including the Writers Union of Canada. He was named one of the top 100 South Asians making a difference in BC. Sadhu has received several awards for his contributions to Punjabi language and culture in Canada. As an active member of the Punjabi Language Education Association, he has been promoting Punjabi language in educational institutions in BC for the last two and a half decades.

About - Advisory Committee

Rana Nayar


Professor Nayar’s main areas of interest are: World Drama/Theatre, Translation Studies, Literary Theory and Cultural Studies. A reputable translator (Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow & Sahitya Akademi Prize Winner), he has rendered around twelve modern classics of Punjabi into English. These include novels, short stories and poetry, and range across the works of Gurdial Singh, Mohan Bhandari, Raghbir Dhand and Beeba Balwant. He also has one collection of poems, Breathing Spaces (Unistar, Chandigarh) and three critical books, viz., Edward Albee: Towards a Typology of Relationships (Prestige, New Delhi, 2003), Inter-sections: Essays on Indian Literatures, Translations and Popular Consciousness (Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2012) and Gurdial Singh: A Reader (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2012) to his credit. He is currently working on his collection of essays, Mosaic: Essays on Literature, Politics and Culture. A committed theatre lover, he has directed over twenty major, full-length productions, and has acted in almost as many.

About - Advisory Committee

Shahzad Nazir Khan


Shahzad Nazir Khan was born in Dera Ghazi Khan, a southern district of Punjab province of Pakistan, which is situated on the western bank of the Indus River. A well-known peace and social justice activist of South Asian community who immigrated to Canada back in 2006 from Pakistan. He and his group of Progressive Pakistani Canadians did numerous initiatives to raise awareness about the peace and issues related with South Asian diaspora and help build a narrative for the promulgation of a peaceful, tolerant and non-violent society where harmonious co-existence could become a livable reality. He and the like-minded people of South Asian descent had seen a great value in bringing the folks on one platform of

‘Peace’ irrespective of their national origin, religion, caste, gender, and class differences. Through his multifarious activities in South Asian diaspora in Canada, he celebrates ‘unity in diversity’ and sends this message of peace to those living in their native countries back.

He did his master’s in Business Administration as well as in Agriculture (Agronomy) from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (Lyallpur), Pakistan. He is in agricultural sales & marketing industry for over fifteen years now yet his main interest and passions are poetry, literature and music.

About - Advisory Committee

Ranbir Johal

Instructor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Canada)

Ranbir is a teacher who occasionally dabbles in creative writing. She has taught Punjabi language and literature since 2002 and has been teaching at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC since 2006. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Asian Studies and researching women in Punjabi theater.

About - Advisory Committee

Amar Jyoti


Amar Jyoti, a reputed Punjabi writer migrated to Amsterdam in The Netherlands in 1982. She then relocated to London where she resides now.

She completed her Masters in Punjabi literature and obtained her PhD on Nation, Identity and Diaspora in Surinamese Poetry. She has published sixteen books which include poetry, prose, research work and children’s literature. Her work has been translated in Dutch, English and in various Indian languages. It has also been included in Dutch journals and publications.
She has edited various magazines as well as books and has also translated Dutch literature into Punjabi . She collaborated with Dutch writers to launch Amber magazine which is a literary publication comprising of work by Dutch & Punjabi writers translated in English and aims to bridge the gap between Dutch and Punjabi literature.  She has also produced and presented programmes for Radio Indian Time and Radio Voice of Asia in Amsterdam and has been invited on Dutch and English television programmes. She has also attended conferences in Europe, India, Pakistan, Canada and America as a guest speaker. She has received various national awards and honours including the prestigious Shiromani Punjabi Sahitkaar Award (By the language department of Punjab) and also international awards from The Netherlands, Canada, UK and India(One World Poetry Award in Amsterdam- The Netherlands, The Waris Shah award – Punjabi Sath in the UK and The IAPA Award in Canada) Apart from reading and writing she enjoys listening to Sufi music and to Ghazals, painting and travelling.

About - Advisory Committee

Zaheer Wattoo

Author and Editor of the Punjabi Language Quarterly Journal Sangry (Pakistan)

Zaheer Hassan Wattoo was born in Mandi Ahmed Abad, District Okara in Punjab, Pakistan. Wattoo received his MA in Punjabi from the University of Punjab, Lahore in 2004, and is currently continuing his studies as a PhD student at the same university, whilst working as a lecturer in Punjabi in the Government College in Lahore. His book, 1857 Di Jang Vich Wattwa’n Da Hissa (1857 Through Oral History) was published in 2005. Other publications include articles published in Mujalla Tehqeeq (University of Punjab, Lahore), Trinjan, Oriental College Magazine (University of Punjab, Lahore), and Punjabi Adab. Wattoo is also a writer of fiction. His published short stories include “Sukiyaa Rukh” and “Naawan”, both published in Trinjan, and “Pheer,” published by Swaira International.

About - Advisory Committee

Zubair Ahmad

2014 Dhahan Prize Finalist

Zubair Ahmad, born as Mohammad Zubair, was born in 1958 in Lahore, Pakistan. His ancestral home was in Batala, Distt. Gurdaspur, now in Punjab, India. He has an MA in English from the University of Punjab, Lahore, and a Post-graduate Diploma in ELT from the same university. Ahmad currently works as an Assistant Professor of English in Old Islamia College, Lahore. He previously worked as a sub-editor in the first Punjabi Pakistani daily newspaper, Sajjan, from 1988 to 1990s. He also ran a Punjabi bookshop and publishing house for twelve years, and has played an active role in promoting Punjabi language and literature in Pakistan since 1975. He has published many works in both Shahmukhi and Gurmukhi, and his articles in English have been widely published in literary and scholarly journals as well as anthologies in Pakistan and around the world. 

Zubair Ahmad’s short stories in his book Kabutar, Banaire Te Galian are inspired by both the usual and unusual, by what actually happens and what may happen. Such happenings, tangible and intangible, provide the material that can become stuff of artistic narrative. Even non-happenings like dreams are, for him, nothing less than fragments of untold and untellable stories in need of narration and description. An important theme of Zubair’s stories is time; how it changes or transforms things, making the alive dead and the dead alive. But being a fiction writer, he does not conceive of time in abstraction. Rather we see time in terms of its effects, the pervasive marks it leaves on all aspects of life, both individual and collective. In his stories the forgotten past appears as a known and familiar territory, and the unforgettable present becomes a path leading to a deviously uncertain and uncertainly devious nowhere. It is there that his characters dwell. Nostalgia evokes dreams and dreams beget nostalgia. Sensitively constructed stories with artistic care reveal what we live with at both a conscious and sub-conscious level, connected to a past we think we have lost, and disconnected from a future we have yet to understand.