This special edition of our quarterly Issue includes the results of our global writing contest, 2016.
Rochelle Potkar’s Story Set in Shimla of the Colonial Times Wins the Open Road Review Prize Worth Forty Thousand
The third annual edition of Open Road Review Short Story Prize was conducted in partnership with the NHP Centre from Aug – Oct 2016. A global contest, it attracted a total of 168 entries, which were judged by a pre-jury comprising of writers and editors from India (Jhilmil Breckenridge), Australia (Rachel Edwards) and Pakistan (Momina Masood). The pre-jury, after careful reading and deliberations, shortlisted a total of ten stories. These shortlisted stories were then judged by a jury of accomplished short story writers that included Vanessa Gebbie (United Kingdom), Madhulika Liddle and Kulpreet Yadav (both from India). All the stories were read blind by, both, the pre-jury and the jury, in accordance with the guidelines. One story from the shortlisted list was disqualified due to technical reasons.
The contest was steered by Sumant Batra, founder, NHP Centre, and Kulpreet Yadav, founder, Open Road Review. The result was announced by them jointly at the Kumaon Literary Festival on Wed, 12 Oct 2016.
Comments of the pre-jury:
As editors for Open Road Review, we have always felt privileged to be an outlet for global voices, always baffled by the talent we’re exposed to in developing every issue. To edit and shortlist between the many writers we hear from is never really fun and always a little heartbreaking, for an issue can only have a number of stories, and a contest only one winner. But the joy persists–joy to witness the development of minoritized voices, to the telling of silenced stories, joy to be the first readers of wonderful fiction and its wonderful worlds. As pre-jury for The Open Road Review Short Story Contest 2016, we received stories about empire and colonial identity, stories about the joy of being a woman and sometimes the agony of it, stories about the journey of love and loss, stories reimagining nationalist myths, and stories in love with language and its anarchy. We received experimental fiction about future worlds, we received prose that was poetic, we received more than 160 entries that had us amused, enamored, and sometimes devastated. The journey was a memorable one, and reinstated our belief in the power of the written word, and the talent that not only inhabits the centre but also the margins. We look forward to doing this again, and congratulate not only the winners but all those who found the courage to write and represent themselves in authentic, distinct voices. To them and to all our readers, we dedicate this prize and the following issue
—Jhilmil Breckenridge, Rachel Edwards & Momina Masood
Top 9 shortlisted stories:
- The Leaves of the Deodar by Rochelle Potkar
- Baby Grand by Simon Rowe
- Protest by Ajay Patri
- Mythology of Childhood by Archita Mittra
- Egypt is Next by Siamak Vossoughi
- The Long Goodbye by Nandita Jaishankar
- A Happily Ever After by Khawar Latif Khan
- Hands that Hide by Aprameya Manthena
- Blowjob by Uttaran Das Gupta
The winner of the “Open Road Review Short Story Prize 2016 – In Partnership with NHP Centre” is Rochelle Potkar for her story “The Leaves of the Deodar”. The winner gets a cash prize of Rs 40000 sponsored by NHP Centre and a certificate.
Comments of the jury:
“A very interesting historic tale. A Brahmin servant employed by a British household, at the time of events leading to the Indian rebellion of 1857, with a fascinating philosophical undercurrent that made us sit up, really made us think. A broad and thoughtful journey in a few words that brings the extraordinary past of the colonial times in a voice that is sensitive, humorous and fresh.”
—Vanessa Gebbie, Madhulika Liddle and Kulpreet Yadav