The ceremony of ‘5th UBL Literary Excellence Awards’ was held at the main garden of Luxury Beach Hotel amid the hustle and bustle of 7th Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) on Saturday. The winners in the seven categories of Urdu and English literature, as selected by the penal of jury, were announced at the ceremony.
The jam packed hall warmly welcomed the distinguished guests comprised of the organizers of KLF and the jury. The guests included Ameena Saiyad, Founder/Director, KLF, Asif Farrukhi, Founder, KLF, Wajahat Hussain, President/CEO, UBL, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Kishwar Naheed, Dr. Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Ghazi Salahuddin, and Anwaar Ahmad.
The moderator of the ceremony, Ali Habib, Head of Corporate Affairs and Marketing UBL, welcomed the guests and shared the short background of the awards in his opening address:
“This is the fifth edition. We started in 2010. Every year we ask for the nominations of books published in the preceding year. This year we have received a hundred and thirty-three entries, which are the largest entries we have received to date.”
He further revealed the details of the entries received in each category. This year they received 82 entries competing in five categories of Urdu literature, including 33 non-fiction and 23 poetry books. Out of this unprecedented large number of entries, only 22 books could make it to the shortlists.
The books are shortlisted by the penal of jury, comprised of renowned writers and scholars, including Asghar Nadeem Syed, Kishwar Naheed, Dr. Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Ghazi Salahuddin, and Anwaar Ahmad. The esteemed writer Intizar Hussain, who died a week before the event, was also part of the jury this year. He had been working as the Chief Adjudicator of the awards for last three years.
The writer/journalist Ghazi Salahuddin announced the winners in the categories of English Literature. The award for best English Non-Fiction book was given to Khizer Humayun Ansari’s ‘The Emergence of Socialist Thoughts’. Hamida Khuru’s book ‘A Children’s History of Balochistan’ won the title of best English Children’s Literature book.
The winners in the five categories of Urdu literature were announced by the renowned playwright Asghar Nadeem Syed, who also talked about the fair and unanimous selection process of the awards. In the category of Urdu Fiction, ‘Na-tamaam’ by Muhammad Asim Butt won the award, and ‘Bazm-e-Ronaq-e-Jahan’ by Aslam Farrukhi was declared the best Urdu Non-Fiction book of 2015.
Huma Anwar’s ‘Surkh Mera Naam’ won the award in the category of Urdu Translation. The book is the translation of Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk’s popular Turkish novel ‘My Name is Red’, which was first published in 1998 and has been translated into more than 60 languages since publication.
Najma Parveen (‘Sunehri Kahaniyan’) and Akhtar Abbas (‘Dragon Ki Wapasi’) shared the prize in the category of Urdu Children’s Literature. Imdad Hussaini’s collection of verses ‘Dhoop Kiran’ won the award in the category of Urdu Poetry.
The winners of best fiction, non-fiction and poetry books were rewarded with 150,000 PKR prize money, and the winners of children literature books received 100,000 PKR prize money.
Literary Excellence Awards, an initiative by UBL, was started in 2010 with the objective of promoting literature and motivating writers in Pakistan, as also reiterated by Ali Habib and Wajahat Hussain, the top management of the bank, in their addresses. The CEO of UBL, Wajahat Husain, expressed this resolve in following words in the concluding address of the ceremony:
“Pakistan is blessed with an extraordinary rich heritage of literature and art. Our nation is a glorious mix of cultures, languages and ethnicities. There is no better proof of that than our literary pedigree. With such a legacy, it is incumbent on us to support and motivate writers and artists to continue their contributions towards art and literary wealth. Indeed, we consider it our corporate objective to ensure that the literary momentum does not slow down and the future generations continue to benefit from these literary treasures.”