Nihal Ijaz Khan Is the Winner of the 2020 Salam Award

Established in 2017, The Salam Award is an award designed to “promote science fiction and related genres of writing in Pakistan.” Awarded annually, winning authors earn a cash prize, publication on the award’s website, review by established literary agents and guidance from an editor.

The award announced this year’s winner: Nihal Ijaz Khan, for his story “The Smokesense of Pluvistan.”

Khan is a writer that hails from Lahore, Pakistan, and you can read his winning story in its entirety here.


In addition to Khan winning the top prize, the award jurors announced that Zunaira Nadeem (“Into the Light”), and Hira Awais (“Door One-Seventy-One”) were finalists. Honorable mentions went to Zahra Mukhi (“Of Sweet Seas and Starlight”), Eman Jamran (“Visions of Host”), and Mehak Khan (“Jinns”).

The award reports that they had a a record number of submissions: 150, from Pakistani writers in the United States, Canada, elsewhere in the Middle East, and Pakistan itself. This year’s award was juried by Ellen Datlow, Aliza T. Greenblatt, and Sami Shah. They described “The Smokesense of Pluvistan” as a story full of sadness, longing, and beauty, and noted that it was “the strangeness and wonder of the setting that first drew them into the story, and the love the characters had for each other kept them reading.”


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