Saira Wins Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Award for Women

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KARACHI: The Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Prize for Women has announced that Saira Mahmood will be the winner of the 2022 prize for her essay, “A Pakistani Woman Comes of Age”. Saira will receive a cash prize of Rs.100,000.

This year, the prize was awarded for non-fiction and was chosen by a jury comprising Carla Power, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, Arifa Akbar, author and Guardian correspondent, Saeed Shah, WSJ correspondent nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, literary editor at TNS Wajiha Hyder and freelancer. Shan editor

Vahidy.

The judges agreed that this gripping memoir, which articulates a girl’s journey to womanhood through the age of social media in Pakistan, was original thinking at its best: brimming with freshness and ambition. Saira Mahmood is a graduate student in the Department of

English at the University of Karachi, where her current research and writing interests include gender, media and Muslim femininity. She was previously an editor for online magazine The Tempest.

Five other shortlisted essays highly recommended for literary merit are: A SEAT AT BIBI’S DINING TABLE by Laila Ghaffar: An evocative and heartwarming account of family relationships across three generations.

• THE EMPIRE OF ILLUSION by Aisha Chapra. Postpartum Themes

depression and climate crisis cleverly intertwine in a frantic search for meaning in a collapsing world.

• FRIDGE MAGNETS by Sundus Saleemi. A subtle and complex essay with elegant meditations on the home as a repository of memory and hope.

• BRAS AND BREASTS by Areej Akhtar. Ideas about femininity, or

its absence, are examined in this triptych of portraits of women betrayed by their own bodies.

• THE SILENCE OF THE INSANE by Michelle Nadeem. An original

piece speculating on women’s silence (and the self-silence of dementia) as a traumatic response.

The winning submission will be published in a national newspaper, online and in print, in November, and shortly thereafter, all shortlisted submissions will be published on the official prize website www.zhrwritingprize.com

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