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  • Maham Javaid is a writer and journalist from Karachi. Her work has appeared in The News on SundayHerald and Al Jazeera English.  She is currently the

    2019-2020 Finberg Fellow at Human Rights Watch in New York City. 


    A short story by

    Maham Javaid


    Maham Javaid’s  intriguing story about a girl who just keeps growing taller and taller, was chosen from nearly 500 entries received by the Competition in its inaugural year. The judges agreed that this winning story, with its unexpected tinge of the surreal has real verve and wit. It is a way of pointing up a victim-blaming culture without having a 'poor me' victim; the absurdity of a woman simultaneously so powerful and powerless. And amidst the surreal and imaginative detail, there is some real authenticity around the main character's shifting relationship with her mother. This is a powerful new voice, and a way of writing about inequality and injustice that is rare in its hilarity.

  • Sadia Khatri is a writer and journalist based in Karachi. Her writing has appeared in DawnThe Kathmandu Post, and Papercuts Magazine. She  is currently working on her first book on the life and work of the poet Agha Shahid Ali. She is also one of the founders of the feminist collective Girls at Dhabas


    A memoir by

    Sadia Khatri



    Sadia Khatri’s memoir received a Special Citation from our Panel of Judges for its compelling honesty. Locating personal experience within the larger objective of interrogating the role of women in public spaces in Pakistan, Fear and the City asks us to consider how our relationships with cities can change over time and how our individual actions and daily habits can act as moments of quiet revolution. A 21st century flaneuse, Sadia Khatri bravely navigates and documents her evolving relationship with Karachi and shows us firsthand how women can renegotiate paths that are too often prescribed.

  • Aisha Hamid is a feminist writer, poet and activist from Lahore. She recently completed a Masters degree at the University of Warwick on a Commonwealth scholarship. She is as yet unpublished.


    A short story by



    poignant story about the devastating effects on a family of a failing, abusive and dysfunctional marriage

  • Yusra Amjad is a writer, poet, and comedienne from Lahore. She is also the founder of the Lahore chapter of the Auratnaak standup comedy troupe. She has been published by Mongrel Books, The Missing Slate and L'ephemere Review among others.


    memoir by

    Yusra Amjad


    A heartfelt memoir of a woman’s final conversation with her father about deeply contentious political and moral issues, at once cynical and tender.

  • Dur e Aziz Amna is a writer based between Rawalpindi and Michigan, USA. Her writing has won an award from the Financial Times and has appeared in Dawn, The News, Longreads, and Roads & Kingdoms, among others. She is currently working on her first novel.


    A short story by

    Dur e Aziz Amna


    Ordinary subverts gender roles while drawing a richly detailed portrait of the everyday lives of women ... and men.

  • Samia Altaf is a public health physician from Lahore and  the author of So Much Aid So Little Development: Stories from Pakistan published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in 2011. 


    A short story by

    Samia Altaf


    Featuring a closely observed description of a funeral, the writing deftly walks the tightrope between tragedy and comedy, somersaulting into hilarity when the unexpected happens.

The Heat

Is it the unbearable weather or the weight of expectations that is making Rukhsana act crazy? And what is the difference between madness and defiance anyway?

Aisha Khan

Letting My Hair Down

The perennial problem for the Pakistani woman is in her genes. And blessings in one department can be a curse in another.

Musfira Shaffi

A History of Heartstrings

Two lives intersect and move apart through the years. A story of loss and yearning for a simpler time.

Asma Mani

Bhar Mein Jayein Loug
(People Can Just Go to Hell)

“My life is not mine because everything I do is relational, defining everyone else around me.” A powerful memoir describing the absence of free agency in a woman’s life.

Zoha B. Khan


The wanton cruelty of children towards servants has consequences that haunt their adult selves. A story about dark secrets, casual bullying and flashing green eyes.

Tamreez Inam

Of Places and People

poignant memoir of one woman's childhood attachments, captured in the places and people she loved best.

Aliya Farrukh  

What's in a Name?

A fragment of a nameless woman's life is portrayed in this uncompromising stream-of-consciousness narrative

Mehroo Waqas

Growing as a Pakistani Woman: A Journey of Emotions

Anger and guilt are what girls feel at the start of their journey through life. But is there room for hope as the journey goes on?

Nabeeha Chaudhary


Who is 'Aman', the mystery writer of Shahpur? And why does he live in a village where nobody reads?

Manahil Naik

The Freedom of Space

An edict by the newly elected Mayor of Lahore cancels the end of year school gala. But that is only the start of  a dystopian future of access to public spaces being curtailed by “The Guardians” of the New Lahore.

Iman Khan

Is this Pakistan? Or Womanhood in Images

Will hope ultimately trump despair for women in this examination of the promise of Pakistan? What it is, and what it could be?

Sauleha Kamal

Spit Can

A daughter's loving care for an infirm father is tested to the limits, especially when sons are more highly valued.

Asna Nusrat


Why must it be men who design a woman’s characteristics in an image, an avatar, that suits them? A call to arms for women to take control of their own narratives

Sadia Mubarak

Paratha, and a Cup of Tea Afterwards

A mystery woman stops at a dhaba for breakfast one early morning. But why is she travelling alone? And where is she going?

Noor Us Sabah Tauqeer