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  • Writer's pictureHarpreet Sekha

Dhahan Prize Finalist Acceptance Speech

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.

Speech Transcript

Hello everyone,

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।

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