Art and Literature give meaning to our lives and help us understand our world. It’s what we crave, it allows us to have a deeper understanding of our emotions, helps us to think outside the box and be open to new ideas. As for Pakistan, literature and art have been a big part of our culture. We are proud to have gems like Ahmad Faraz, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Parveen Shakir, Jaun Elia, and Muneer Niazi, Umera Ahmed, Ashfak Ahmed, Wasif Ali Wasif, Bano Qudsia, Anwar Maqsood and many others. Awards are a great way of acknowledging and appreciating talent. It’s heartening to know that there are organisations who pay tribute to our literary figures. UBL is one such organisation that recognises the importance of arts and literature in Pakistan.
The UBL Literature & Arts Awards is an event that has been undertaken by the bank annually for a decade now. With each iteration, the awards support, motivate and celebrate talented Pakistani writers. It encourages established as well as budding artists to continue producing their works in a variety of different genres. It is through such ventures that the literary tradition lives on and benefits the current and future generations.
Recently, the 10th UBL Literature and Arts Awards were held at a local hotel in Karachi, which were attended by writers, literary, prominent media personalities and celebrities. This annual celebration of Pakistani writers was expanded this year to include three new categories, thus making it the most comprehensive Pakistani awards celebrating the field of literature and arts. The 13th award categories received hundreds of nominations from all over Pakistan. The competition was open to all Pakistani authors who had published their original work in 2020. Entries were shortlisted by an esteemed panel of judges. The jury members, an august lot of some of Pakistan’s leading legendary names in literature, comprised of Dr Asghar Nadeem Syed, Dr Arfa Syeda, Dr Anwaar Ahmed, Ms Kishwar Naheed, Dr Nasir Abbas Nayyar, Mr Ghazi Salahuddin and Ms. Muneeza Shamsie.
Mehmood Ahmer Qazi won in the category of Urdu fiction for his work ‘Koonwa’.
Ahmed Saleem won in the category of Urdu nonfiction for his work ‘Jab Aankh Say Na Tapka’. Sabir Zafar won in the category of Urdu poetry for his work ‘Jamaal Aapsay Wisaal’.
Saeed Naqvi won in the category of translation in Urdu for his work ‘April Dou Neem’.
Tasneem Jaffery for ‘Zindagi Khobsurat Hai & Mukhlis Dost’ and Mohammad Shoaib for ‘Babloo Aur Chanda Mamoo’ won in the category of Urdu Children’s Literature (Two joint awards). Irfan Shahoor won in the category of debut book in Urdu for his work ‘Bay Simti Kay Din’. Khalid Kunbher won in the category of Literature of Regional Languages (New Category) for his work ‘Khana Badosh Qabeela (Sindhi)’. Qazi Ali abul Hasan won in the category of Online Literature (New Category) for his work ‘Zaiqon Say Bharay Rang’.
Fasih Bari Khan won in the category of television drama serial (New Category) for his work ‘Ghisi Piti Mohabbat’. Iftikhar H. Malik won in the category of English Non Fiction for his work ‘The Silk Road and Beyond’. Saman Shamsie won in the category of English Children’s Literature for her work ‘Where the Rivers Meet’ and last but not least Osman Haneef won in the category of debut Book in English for his work ‘The Verdict’.
Two special award categories were also announced. To celebrate the global impact of Pakistani artists, the prestigious ‘Excellence in World Literature in English’ award was posthumously awarded to the exemplary Zulfikar Ghose. It was accepted by Mr. Ghose’s nephew, Mr. Imran Afzal, on his behalf. The final award of the evening, presented by Mr. Shahzad G. Dada, President and CEO, UBL, was the prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Award, for artists who produce exemplary work over the years. This time the award was presented to one and only Anwar Maqsood.
The awards were interspersed by light entertainment and ended with a lavish dinner for all the participants. It was hosted by Khalid Malik and Yasra Rizvi.