Last year, I took on the role of Prize Manager for the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature. It is a project that I am extremely proud of as we are bringing together Punjabi people around the world through the literature, especially in India and Pakistan.
I will make the disclaimer that I am not fluent in reading Punjabi. It literally takes me a half an hour to read one email so my passion does not come necessarily for the literature itself but the impact that the literature makes on the culture.
Cultures survive through stories and the books that are written about the culture. At the current state, Punjabi literature is marketed and read through a small community. This community is well versed and supportive of the authors and their literature. The prize has the goal of expanding readership and have the works translated into English so that a greater community can enjoy the works, understand the strengths and issues of the culture and further support the increased publishing of Punjabi works.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature aims to inspire the creation of Punjabi literature across borders, bridging Punjabi communities around the world, and promoting Punjabi literature on a global scale.
As we prepare for this year’s events, I know I will be asked the question if I have read the books and how I support Punjabi Literature. My desire to promote the language outweighs my ego, which may be a little embarrassed that I can not read the literature. My desire propels me to see the larger purpose of the work that we are doing through the prize, which will impact the language in the long term.
The Dhahan Prize hosted a public reading at SFU Surrey on October 24th from 6:30 – followed by a reception. Prize winners read from their winning books in Punjabi, with translation to English. The evening was co-presented with SFU World Literature Program, and included a question and answer portion, as well as a reception to mingle with our honoured guests. The next day the winners of the Dhahan Prize in Punjabi Literature were honoured at a gala reception at the Museum of Anthropology at University of British Columbia. More information can be found at www.dhahanprize.com.
Manpreet Dhillon is based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is co-founder of Be Your Own Best Friend and Certified Personal and Business Coach. You can connect with her on Twitter @ManpreetD and website: www.manpreetdhillon.com