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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February 2005, 17:47 GMT
Pakistan women authors honoured
By Asit Jolly
BBC News, Chandigarh

Book launch in Punjab
The collection contains short stories by 26 women authors
A special ceremony has been held in the north Indian state of Punjab to release a unique new book containing short stories by women writers of Pakistan.

The collection - Half the Sky - is part of an effort to bring Pakistani women writers to India.

The release of the anthology is the first time in more than half-a century that their work has been brought across the border.

Their work was formally unveiled by Pakistan's deputy high commissioner.

The new collection contains short stories by 26 women authors including established names like Bapsi Sidwa and Zahida Hina as well as several younger, contemporary writers from all across Pakistan.

The book contains a wide mix of writings translated into English from Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto and Saraeki.

Book cover
Some of the finest Pakistani women writers are contributors

Speaking on the occasion of the book's release, Deputy High Commissioner Munawar Bhatti said: "Such endeavours were important since they would serve significantly in correcting misconceptions, and improving the quality of people to people relations between India and Pakistan."

The editor of the new collection, Nirupama Dutt, who is herself an established Punjabi poet and writer in Indian Punjab, said, "the book is a first attempt to present various facets of Pakistani women to audiences in India."

"Many of the writers represented in the collection are in fact also activists and their works reflect feminine sensibilities that transcend the boundaries of feminism," she said.

Half the Sky is already available in Indian book shops and will shortly also be released for sale in Pakistan.

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