Last year I was honoured to be presented with being awarded as a Finalist for the 2018 Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature. Below is a transcript from my short acceptance speech for the press conference.
Today is a great day in my literary journey, which I started here in Canada in 1988.
As a Punjabi Canadian author, my literary work explores themes and experiences
that resonate with South Asian Canadians.
I often wonder when books outside of Canada’s two official languages will be
considered for the Governor General’s literary awards. When will Punjabi
literature produced in Canada, about Canadians, be considered as Canadian as a
book or collection written in English.
On the other hand, Punjabi literature awards are usually awarded to an author
instead of a book. I have always wished that an award like the Giller Prize existed
for Punjabi books. In India, only the Sahitya Akademi offers an award to a book
each year, but even then the condition exists that the author of the awarded book
must be an Indian citizen. Consequently, for the Sahitya Akademi, Canadian
Punjabi writers are considered “parvasi,” and for the Governor General’s literary
awards, our language is considered foreign.
I feel honoured that this year my anthology of short stories, Prism is among the
finalists for Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature, which is not limited to only one
country or only the Gurmukhi script. Thank you very much Mr. Dhahan for
starting this award, and many thanks to the jury members for selecting my book.
I am also very thankful to my friends, who read manuscripts of my stories and
gave me their valuable opinions.
A big thank you to my family: my late parents, my better half, my kids, my sisters
and their families for supporting me and of course my late in-laws for marrying
their beautiful daughter to a "Punjabi Writer." I think they would have been happy
with their decision because I’m ten thousand dollars richer today. It could have
been twenty five thousands but S. Baldev Singh's wife suffered more years than
mine. Congratulations Baldev Singh Ji and congratulations to my co-finalist Mr
Nasir Bloach. Thank you all for celeberating with us.
ਮੈਨੂੰ ਸੁਨਣ ਲਈ ਤੁਹਾਡਾ ਸਭ ਦਾ ਬਹੁਤ ਬਹੁਤ ਧੰਨਵਾਦ।