Himal Southasian has announced the winner of its 2019 short story competition, and it is Bangladeshi author Mashiul Alam that takes half the $500 prize for his story Milk, translated into English from Bangla by Shabnam Nadiya.

Himal Southasian, described as “South Asia’s first and only regional news and analysis magazine”, is published in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo in digital format only, after thirty years as a print publication.

The Himal judges commended both the story and its “elegant translation”.

The story took us on a journey of the imagination, a world unto itself. It is a story with so much of life in it ¬– humans, animals, open fields; a social, a natural and a supernatural world – and yet with an eye for minute details and an arresting turn of phrase. We marvelled that the story is so lucidly told and the translation so seamless and beautiful in its retelling. Here, we felt, is a story being told to us, that could be spoken or written, that held us in its thrall and led us beyond ourselves.

The translator gets the other half of the award and the story will be published on the Himal website in the new year.

Read more about the award here.

The Dhaka Tribune describes Alam as,

an eminent writer and translator who has published 12 novels. He works at Prothom Alo as Senior Assistant Editor. His Mangsher Karbar (The Meat Market), published in 2002, was given a warm reception by readers. His other books include, Abedalir Mrittur Por, Ghora Masud, Tanushreer Shonge Dwitiyo Raat, Nabilachorit, Baba, Jahangir Gate Khola Ache and Pakistan.

Read the Dhaka Tribune take on the award results here.

The winning story was selected from 319 submissions from authors based in Bangladesh, Canada, China, Ghana, India, Malawi, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, the UAE and the USA, with 12 making the shortlist:

‘A Cold Heart’ by Dur e Aziz Amna
‘Chudail in Love’ by Shivani Kamal Bhasin
‘Dear Swara Bhaskar’ by Pranaya SJB Rana
‘A Family Outing’ by Prithvi Pudhiarkar
‘Momos and Soup’ by Jhinuk Sen
‘Mardangi’ by Anika Khan
‘Milk’ by Mashiul Alam, translated from Bangla into English by Shabnam Nadiya
‘Philomena Sequeira’ by Lindsay Pereira
‘Red’ by Roshni Sengupta
‘Red Coral’ by Sangeetha Bhaskaran
‘Second Class’ by Priyanka Mashelkar
‘Tesu’ by Riddhi Dastidar

All the shortlisted stories will receive paid publication in Himal in 2020.