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Nihal Ijaz Khan Wins the Salam Award for Best Short Story

A story full of sadness, longing, and beauty.

Lahore-based writer Nihal Ijaz Khan has won the 2020 Salam award for ‘Imaginative Fiction‘. Nihal Ijaz Khan’s ‘The Smokecense of Pluvistan‘ took home the literary prize.

The jury loved the story for its strangeness, sadness, longing, and beauty.

This year’s jury Ellen Datlowy comprised of Aliza T. Greenblatt, and Sami Shah. ‘The Smokesense of Pluvistan’ stood out to the jury because:

“The strangeness and wonder of the setting that first drew them into the story, and the love the characters had for each other kept them reading.”


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The story is currently available for readers on the Salam Awards website.

Other finalists for the 2020 Salam Award include Zunaira Nadeem with ‘Into the Light‘ and Hira Awais for ‘Door One-Seventy-One‘.

Honorable mentions went to Zahra Mukhi  and her book ‘Of Sweet Seas and Starlight‘, Eman Jamran for ‘Visions of Host‘, and Mehak Khan with ‘Jinns‘.

The 2020 Salam Award reported a record number of submissions. The 150 submissions came from Pakistani writers in the United States, Canada, elsewhere in the Middle East, and of course Pakistan.


About the Salam Award

Established in 2017, The Salam Award is a short story contest in the science fiction genre. The award is designed to “promote science fiction and related genres of writing in Pakistan.”

The annual award rewards winning authors with a cash prize, and publication of the winning story on their website.


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Written by Ummara Sheraz

Entertainment & culture writer at ProPakistani/Lens. Occasionally dabbles in other news.


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