Asian Writer scoops top prize in awards


Asian writer Azma Dar has been awarded the prize for Fiction in the New Writing Ventures Awards 2007. (September 12)
Her entry, The Secret Arts, is a colourful first chapter of a novel set in Muree, a hill town in Pakistan, where a wedding is about to take place. The story introduces us to a wealth of charming characters, from the middle aged, newly married colonel and his domineering mother, to the old man who practises black magic on the village dwellers.
Predominantly a playwright, Azma entered the competition on a whim, but was considered a clear winner by the judges. Henry Sutton, Chair of Judges for Fiction, comments:
“Lively, stylish, innovative, funny and moving, Azma Dar’s The Secret Arts not only displays great novelistic talent, it also brings universality to a very particular community and land. In essence she beautifully brings to life a people, place and time with great humour and humility. In a very strong field and within a very strong shortlist, Azmar Dar was always the clear winner among the judges. The range of skills she displays is more than apparent. Already a proven playwright, it will be fascinating to watch her develop as a novelist. Success has to be guaranteed.”
As a winner, Azma was presented with a cheque for £3,000 and a place on the year-long Ventures Development Programme, managed by The Literary Consultancy, which includes individual mentoring, professional advice and personal introductions to key figures in the publishing world.
Now in its third year, New Writing Ventures has a proven track record of identifying emerging talent of the future and Azma can expect to follow in her predecessor’s footsteps: Nicholas Hogg, winner of the 2005 Fiction category, will see his novel, Show Me the Sky, published by Canongate in 2008 and Liz Diamond, runner up of the 2005 Creative Non-Fiction category, has secured a two-book deal with Picador. Her first novel, An Accidental Light, will be published in spring 2008.
To read her winning entry please click here.

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