Sanam Mehar’s book on Qandeel Baloch shortlisted for Indian literary prize


Pakistani journalist Sanam Maher’s book, The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch, based on the life of the slain social media sensation Qandeel Baloch has been shortlisted for India’s Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2018.

Sharing the news on Twitter, Maher wrote, “Some fantastic news to start the day off – The Sensational Life & Death of Qandeel Baloch is shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize this year!”

The First Book Prize was initiated by the Shakti Bhatt Foundation in 2008 to encourage authors from the sub-continent. The winner, to be announced in November is expected to get a cash award of INR200,000 and a trophy.

According to Shakti Bhatt Foundation’s social media account, the submissions for the book prize were in the following genres: poetry, fiction, graphic novels, creative non-fiction (travel writing, autobiography, biography and narrative journalism), and drama.

Maher has been shortlisted alongside five other authors, including Preti Taneja (We That Are Young), Sujatha Gidla (Ants Among Elephants), Deepak Unnikrishnan (Temporary People), Aanchal Malhotra (Remnants of a Separation) and Shreevatsa Nevatia (How to Travel Light).

In the nomination announcement, Maher’s book is described as “a testimony to the short, incandescent and courageous life of this Pakistani social media personality, murdered for the family’s honour by her brother. Through the story of Qandeel’s life and death, Maher shows us what it means to be a woman who defies convention in a patriarchal society.”

The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch was released earlier this year.