2017 Winners awarded for excellence in Punjabi fiction

Pargat Singh Satoj

Pargat Singh Satoj
2017 Dhahan Prize Winner


Since the publication of his first short story in 2002 in a newspaper, Satoj has authored numerous works of poetry and fiction. Tera Pind, a collection of poems, was released in 2008. His first novel, Bhagoo was well received by readers in 2009. In 2012 the novel Teevian received critical national acclaim. His short story collection Ghalt Malt Zindgi (2014) drew considerable attention as many of these stories have been translated and published in Hindi, Urdu and Rajasthani.

Pargat Singh is the recipient of several literary awards at local and state level in Punjab. His creative talent was recognized nationally by the Bhartiya Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters) awarding him with the prestigious ‘Young Writer Award in 2012 for his novel, Teevian. Pargat Singh’s deep rooted understanding of the rural socio-economic, cultural and historical life of the peasant and lower middle classes coupled with his adept use of language are evident in all his writing. Pargat Singh holds a double Master’s Degree in Punjabi and History. He currently teaches in the primary school in his ancestral home village, Satoj in the Sangrur district of Punjab, India.  

Ali Anwar Ahmad
Ali Anwar Ahmad
2017 Dhahan Prize Finalist

FILTHY CHADOR (SHEET) (short story collection)

Hailing from Kasur (Pakistan), the burial place of the legendary Punjabi Sufi poet Bhulleh Shah, Ali Anwar Ahmad has had an impressive twenty-seven-year long career as a school teacher. With a Bachelor in Education and a Master`s Degree in Urdu, it is no wonder that Ahmad has become a prolific writer. Drawing inspiration from the great historic Punjabi poets of the region, he published his first collection of poems Akh Samundar Hoee (Eye Becomes Ocean) in the first year of the twenty first century. 

Encouraged by Lahore based literary friends Jamil Ahmad Pal (Svare International Magazine) and Karahmat Mughal (Revel Magazine), Ahmad to start writing short stories. Very quickly he distinguished himself as a crafter of award winning short stories. He received the prestigious Masood Khadar Posh Trust Award in 2002 for the short story collection, Insan and Sup (Man and Viper). Since then nine collections of his short stories have been published totaling nearly two hundred stories. In his 2016 Tand Tand Maili Chaadar Anwar has shown the richness of his craft with twenty three stories exposing the hypocrisies of his characters in their day to day lives. As a finalist of the 2017 Dhahan Prize in the Shahmukhi script, Anwar continues to add a growing number of literary awards for his excellent fiction including the Safkat Tanveer Mirza Award from the Punjabi Institute of Language, Art and Culture, Lahore.

Nachhattar Singh Brar
Nachhattar Singh Brar
2017 Dhahan Prize Finalist

Paper Marriage (novel)

Nachhattar Singh Brar was born and raised in a hard-working farming family in Janare, a village built upon an ancient mound of ruins in the Moga District of Punjab, India. After completing high school, he joined the Indian Air Force. While in service he successfully earned a Master’s Degree in Punjabi and a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. After eighteen years with the Indian Air Force, he joined the Punjab Technical Education Department as an instructor.

Upon arriving in Canada in 1996 he settled in the growing suburb of Surrey, British Columbia. He started to work as a supervisor in a security company and became a keen observer of life and work in his adopted country. At the age of sixty-two he penned his inaugural novel, Kaehri Rutae Ay (Which Season (we) Arrived). Later he wrote a defining account in Punjabi of life in the air force, Jadan Nate Fighter Dian (Memories of An Air Fighter). Another novel Chithian Di Sajha (Sentence of Letters) was well received by the literary and Punjabi community with its heart tugging story line. Nachhattar Singh figuratively returned to his roots by writing a booklet on the history of his home village Janare. His third novel Aalanae Di Odan (Nest’s Flight) is a touching story on the vissitudes of immigrant life in Canada. The 2017 Dhahan Prize winning novel ‘Paper Marriage’ (Kaagzi Viaah) is a timely account of deceit, cunning and human compassion set in the context of a sham marriage to gain immigration to Canada. Even though Brar commenced his literary journey late in life, his creative output is exemplary and worthy of recognition. He is surely destined to produce new works of fiction to the delight of readers and critics alike.

2017 Jury Members

Central Jury

Mr. Balraj Cheema (Canada)
Mr. Prem Parkash (India)
Mr. Tauqeer Chugtai (Pakistan)

Professor Raghbir Singh oversaw the adjudication and administration of juries for the 2017 Prize. Professor Raghbir ensured there was just and fair proceedings in relation to the adjudication.

The process was designed initially by Professor Anne Murphy, with advice and guidance from the Prize Advisory Committee,  who designed the process, adjudication and administration of the Prize in its initial form. Professor Murphy’s scholarly experience with Punjabi culture and literature, and with the adjudication and management of literary and book prizes (both in English and Punjabi), coupled with 10 years of experience working with museums and other non-profit organizations on related projects, helped devise a process that would foster engaged and ethical adjudication.