19th December, 2015: Author Shannaz Bashir has won the Muse India Young Writer Awards 2015 for his debut book The Half Mother in fiction category. Published by Hachette India in 2015, the book is based on events which took place in Kashmir of 1990s. The war in Kashmir claims its first victims, among them are Ghulam Rasool Joo, Haleema's father, and her teenage son Imran, who is picked up by the authorities only to disappear into the void of Kashmir's missing people.
The Half Mother is the heart-wrenching story of Haleema - a mother and a daughter yesterday, a 'half mother' and an orphan today; tormented by not knowing whether Imran is dead or alive, torn apart by her own lonely existence. While she battles for answers and seeks out torture camps, jails and morgues for any signs of Imran, Kashmir burns in a war that will haunt it for years to come.
The jury panel for the award included distinguished authors and poets such as K Satchidanandan, Ranjit Hoskote, Meena Kandasamy, Sukrita Paul Kumar and GJV Prasad among others. Here's what they had to say about The Half Mother: "Shahnaz’s TheHalf Mother is a heart-wrenching and deeply troubling tale of a lone woman’s battle for life, dignity and justice in Kashmir. "
Muse India Young Writer Awards are given to recognise and encourage outstanding literary talent. The awards are given in the categories of poetry and fiction. Original works in English, or in English translation from an Indian language, are considered for the awards. Instituted by Muse India, the literary eJournal, the awards are given during the Hyderabad Literary Festival. Widely respected in the industry, the awards attract submissions from leading publishers of the country as well as writers and poets.
The award was presented to the author at Hyderabad Literary Festival 2016.