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2019 Jawad memorial prize
The second Jawad Memorial Prize for Urdu-English translation, 2019.


Deadline Extended: 


The Jawad Memorial Prize for Urdu-English Translation will now remain open until 00 hours IST, December 1, 2018 (Please note that this is effective midnight, November 30). 


The deadline extension is an attempt to encourage more translators to engage with serious non-fiction in Urdu and to help widen its audience, adding to the body of global literature. 


The prize winner(s) will now be announced on March 10, 2019. (Please note that there will not be a ceremony. The winners will be contacted individually and awarded their respective prizes.)

Ali Jawad Zaidi (1916-2004) was an Urdu poet and polyphonic scholar. He wrote several books of ghazals and nazms apart from research based texts such as 'A History of Urdu Literature' and 'Uttar Pradesh ke Marsiyago' and several others. He also wrote commentary on a wide range of subjects, publishing significant books like 'Do Adbi School' and 'Islami Taraqqi Pasandi. He had been honoured with several awards including the Padmashri, the Ghalib Award, the Mir Anis award and others. He had been working on a project he called 'Urdu mein Ramkatha' when he passed away.


The Jawad Memorial Prize for Urdu-English translation has been instituted to honour his literary legacy, especially the fact that much of his work served as a bridge between languages, cultures, histories. It is our hope and endevour that the prize will serve to continue his life's work in a small way.


We encourage all scholars and translators to submit and to spread the word about this new prize.


The winner of the inaugural Jawad Memorial Prize, 2017, was Rakshanda Jalil for her translation, ‘Smoke’, a short story written by Gulzar.


The runner-up prize was shared by Fatima Rizvi for her translation of ‘The Outlaw’, a short story written by Premchand, and Raza Naeem for his translation of ‘Spring’, a short story written by Abdullah Hussain.

Details and Rules:

This year, 2018, invites translations of literary essays or pen portraits (khake) between 1000-5000 words. While there is no theme, we are not looking for reportage or opinion pieces from newspapers. We would prefer that the original essay be readable and relavant in any context and time.

Translators are invited to submit translations into English of a single (already published) Urdu


Please upload your submissions with 'Jawad Memorial Prize Submission' in the subject field.

To submit, please email:

The contest opens on Jan 15, 2018 and close on Dec 1, 2018.

The winning translation will get INR 10,000 in prize money and a certificate. The runner up gets INR 5,000 and a certificate.

The original essay in Urdu must either be free of copyright claims (65 years after the death of the author) or else, the translator must obtain the author's permission before submitting the essay and should be able to furnish proof of this, if asked to.

The word limit is between 1000-5000 words. A few words fewer or more will not disqualify an entry. However, the indicated range must be respected.

Translators can submit more than one essay.

The judges will not be announced beforehand. Submissions are judged blind, so please do not write your name anywhere on the document submitted.

The document must be an attachment with either a .doc or .rtf file. The author's name must be mentioned in the document, but not the translator's name.

The translator's name should be mentioned in the body of the email.

The winning entries will be announced on March 10, 2019.

The decision of the judges is final.

The winning essay, and the runner up, should be available for publishing on the website as well as any other media platform.

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