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Author Balwinder Singh Grewal caps off Punjabi Literature Week by winning $25,000 Dhahan Prize

Balwinder Singh Grewal
Balwinder Singh Grewal won this year's Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature, which comes with a $25,000 cash award. Photo by Dhahan Prize.

A Ludhiana-based writer is the toast of the Punjabi literary community after winning a prestigious award.

At a gala event in Surrey, B.C., Balwinder Singh Grewal received the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature for his collection of short stories, Dubolia (The Diver).

It comes with a $25,000 cash award financed by Vancouver businessman Barj Dhahan, his wife Rita, and their friends and family members.

“The Dhahan Prize is a huge tap on my shoulder,” Grewal said in a news release. “I am happy and inspired to continue my creative journey with a greater sense of gratitude and responsibility.”

The Dhahan is the most lucrative prize in the world for people writing in Punjabi.

This year’s runners-up, Virginia-based Javed Boota and Amritsar-based Arvinder Kaur Dhaliwal, each took home $10,000 for their short-story collections, entitled Cholan Di Burki and Jhanjraan Wale Paer, respectively.

The prizes were handed out at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel on November 17. One of the attendees was Surrey–Green Timbers NDP MLA Rachna Singh, who’s the parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives. She presented a provincial proclamation declaring Punjabi Literature Week in British Columbia.

Related article: Prism author Harpreet Sekha shatters stereotypes about Punjabi community.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.