By Aysha Raja

The Life’s Too Short Literary Review could never have been possible were it not for the Life’s Too Short Short Story Prize (2009). This was the first ever short story prize held in the region, of which my partner Faiza S. Khan and I had very humble expectations, we didn’t even envisage a publication ensuing from the prize. Today, not only have we published the best of the stories in Pakistan and India to critical acclaim, but we also discovered one of the most anticipated authors of 2011, Jamil Ahmad.

We now find ourselves coming full circle as we invite submissions for The Life’s Too Short Short Story Prize 2010/11, the deadline for which is 31st March 2011. From the formidable response to the first volume of the review we feel that participants can expect the kind of international attention that would ordinarily require an agent and a mainstream publisher.

Although our regulations stipulate that the participants should be of Pakistani origin we in no way want to limit the subject matter to Pakistan, our desire is to bring good writing to the fore and ensure that it is not viewed through the prism of quaint/ repressive tales from a failed state, as the recent issue of Granta Pakistan appeared to do.

We’re proud to announce that the judges for this yeas prize are:Musharraf Ali Farooqi (The Adventures of Amir Hamza/Story of a Widow),Mohsin Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist/Moth Smoke)

Sara Suleri Goodyear (Meatless Days/Boys Will Be Boys).

How To Send In Your Entry

Submissions must be e-mailed to

Kindly paste the text into the body of the e-mail. Attachments shall not be considered.

Each entry must include the name, address, telephone number(s) and the e-mail address of the writer

Submission deadline: March 31 2011

Participants must be of Pakistani origin

The stories may have any theme or subject, but should not exceed 5,000 words

The stories must be original and should not have been previously published anywhere in part or full

All entries must be in English

Only one entry per person

Entries will not be returned or acknowledged

Selected entrants will assign publication rights to Siren Publications

Only winners will be notified


The following are some of the achievements of Life’s Too Short:

Since its inception the Life’s Too Short project has far exceeded our expectations and those of the people who participated. We discovered Jamil Ahmed, a debut author who was subsequently introduced in the recent Granta Pakistan issue; and who’s collection of short stories is set to be released worldwide during the spring of 2011. The Guardian has tipped the collection The Wandering Falcon as one of the hottest debuts of 2011.

We also were the first to publish an original work by Bilal Tanweer who was introduced by Granta in their New Voices section this month.

Aside from discovering new talent, The Life’s Too Short Literary Review is garnering praise abroad in it’s own right. The much respected and popular blog Chappati Mystery featured the Review in their ten best things of 2010.


And it caught the attention of the New York Times in November of last year.

On 15th February 2011 the Indian Edition of Life’s Too Short Literary Review will be published by Hachette India. My partner and editor of the Review Faiza S. Khan was invited and spoke at the Jaipur Literary Festival this year and the reception to one of the stories featured in the Review was staggering:

We’ve also just been informed that Life’s Too Short Literary Review will be included in a Global Literature course at Berkley.