Congratulations again to our longlisted authors. All of you have made your mark in an incredibly talented field. Our judging panel commented how hard the task was because the writing was so accomplished, the thoughts so profound and the content so compelling. Alice Albinia commented: "Such a powerful collection. I was shaking as I read some of them.  The repeated exploration of the relentless oppressions of family and culture, in different biographies and experiences; but always coming back to similar themes. (Plus, no conventional romance anywhere in sight; the polar opposite of Western writing.) Choosing the final six was hard."


Hard decisions, nonetheless, had to be made.  So congratulations to the authors who have made our shortlist, although we cannot reveal their names until the winner is announced on November 15th. The writing on display here is incredibly potent. Any of these pieces would make a worthy winner of the 2020 ZHR Prize.

  • Bad House

  • Fathers Be Good to Your Daughters

  • Hairy

  • Inheritance

  • Moti, Saand

  • Portrait of a Woman in Pain

We can now reveal the names of the talented authors in our longlist. These submissions will be published on our website in early 2021.

  • A Desk of One’s Own    MEMOONAH ZAINAB

  • A Grief of One’s Own    MANAL AHMED

  • A Letter to My Dupatta    SASHA ZUBERI

  • Arrested Development    MUSFIRA SHAFFI

  • Be(Longing)    ALISHAE ABEED  

  • How She Lived for Us    MINAHIL KHAN

  • Last Conversations: What We Talk About When We Talk About Death    SAMIA ALTAF

  • Love Unspoken, Love Unheard    AIMUN FAISAL

  • My Own Worst Enemy    NOREEN SHARIF

  • On Swimming   KOMAL WAQAR

  • Porridge    ANAAM AFRIDI

  • Quarantine     SAIRA MAHMOOD

  • Teaching My Mother How to Pronounce Suicide    NUWERA AKMAL

  • The Art of Precious Scars    KEHKASHAN KHALID

  • The Gift of Life    ZAINAB HASSAN

  • The History, Art and Science of Being a Pakistani Woman    SANDHYA BARLAS


  • To Taste Mundanity in Movement    NIRVANA AMJAD    


We have been staggered and heartened by the response to our call for submissions. We have received over 350 entries from every corner of Pakistan and some of that writing has been of a truly outstanding calibre. We are profoundly grateful that so many talented authors have trusted us to champion their work.

Such was the quality of writing on display that we struggled to limit our longlist to the necessary 24 pieces, and were forced to make some very difficult choices. We would like to commend all those who had the bravery and dedication to enter their work, and encourage them to continue with their writing.

Congratulations to the authors who have been longlisted. Your work has in so many cases demonstrated exactly what we have been looking for: an original voice.


Once again, our thanks to all who entered this year’s competition. Zeenat Haroon Rashid would be delighted by the fact there are so many Pakistani women who know that their stories are worth telling.