Open Submissions call: Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Prize for Women

The 2021 Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Prize for Women calls for submissions and announces a stellar line-up of judges for the 2021 competition. Please visit:

Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Prize for Women calls for submissions and announces a stellar line-up of judges for the 2021 competition

The Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Prize for Women has achieved tremendous literary credibility in the three short years since its inception. It has discovered talented new women authors and promoted their writing across both print and digital platforms. The 2020 winner, Raniya Hussain, was published in a national newspaper and widely interviewed in the press, radio and social media. All shortlisted and longlisted writing is available to read on the Prize website

Dates: Entries open on April 1st and close on June 30th.

Prize: The Prize carries a cash award of Rs.100,000 (one lakh).

In 2021 the call for submissions is for SHORT STORIES (fiction) on any subject or theme which uses Pakistan as a canvas or location.  The Competition is open to all women of Pakistani nationality or Pakistani heritage over the age of 18 and, as always, the judges look for writing with a strong personal voice

This year the judging panel features some of the best-known literary figures in the Pakistani landscape, including novelists Kamila Shamsie and Hanif Kureishi:


  • Kamila Shamsie (TAMGHA-E-IMTIAZ) is the author of seven novels, which have been translated into over 20 languages. Home Fire won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize; Burnt Shadows was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and won the Premio Boccaccio (Italy). Kamila is vice-President and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was one of Granta’s ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ in 2013.


  • Hanif Kureishi (CBE and CHEVALIER DE L’ORDRE DES ARTS ET DES LETTRES) is the award-winning author of 8 novels, 4 non-fiction books, and 11 plays and screenplays. His novels include The Buddha of Suburbia, which won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel, and his screenplay My Beautiful Laundrette, received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. He has also published several collections of essays and short stories, the most recent being What Happened? . His work has been translated into 36 languages and he is professor of Creative Writing at Kingston University. In 2010 he was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize.


  • Maryam Wasif Khan is Associate Professor of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at LUMS University, Lahore. Her work on British orientalism, Muslim reform and nineteenth-century prose fiction in Urdu has appeared in several literary journals. Her book, Who is a Muslim? Orientalism and Vernacular Populisms (Fordham University Press: 2021), argues against conventional methods of writing literary history for colonial vernaculars such as Urdu or Hindi. A second project is envisioned as a series of essays and contemplations on the possibilities contained in the act of reading foundational European texts outside of the Academy.


  • Faiza S. Khan is a London-based publisher and writer. She is Consulting Publisher at Bloomsbury Publishing where her authors include the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and acclaimed Pakistani writers Mohammed Hanif and Sanam Maher. She also co-edited The Life’s Too Short Literary Review, an anthology of short stories from Pakistan. Her writing has appeared in publications including The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Daily Beast and Boundless. Faiza is writing her first novel.


  • Shan Vahidy is an escapee from Penguin Books and currently a freelance editor based in London. Much to her own surprise, she has accidentally specialised in heavy-weight non-fiction, although she also enjoys working on novels. Authors goaded in a professional capacity include Carla Power, Paul Mason, Moni Mohsin, Ian Morris and Victoria Finlay. She is the granddaughter of Zeenat Haroon Rashid and a permanent co-ordinating judge on the panel

Full details on how to enter and comprehensive competition rules can be found on the website

Enquiries about submissions should be directed to the Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Prize for Women, please always refer to their website for complete details and information.

Please note, this prize is run by the Zeenat Haroon Rashid Writing Prize for Women, not Commonwealth Writers.