2020 Salam Award

The winner of the 2020 Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction, which recognizes emerging speculative fiction writers of Pakistani origin or residence, is Nihal Ijaz Khan’s “The Smokecense of Pluvistan”, which the jury said was filled with “strangeness and wonder.”

A brief description of the story: In Pluvistan, the city where it always rains, a father and daughter struggle at the end of all life to find her mother’s faith and the tree that will reunite them with her in heaven.

Other entries recognized by the judges are —


  • “Into The Light” by Zunaira Nadeem
  • “Door One-Seventy-One” by Hira Awais


  • “Of Sweet Seas and Starlight” by Zahra Mukhi
  • “Visions of Host” by Eman Kamran
  • “Jinns” by Mehak Khan

The winner receives:

  • A cash prize of Rs 50,000
  • Story will be published on the Salam Award website
  • Review by an established literary agent for market guidance and possible representation
  • An editorial review by a professional editor for critique and potential publication in a multi-award winning science fiction magazine

The award judges were Ellen Datlow, A.T. Greenblatt, and Sami Shah.

The Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction is named for Dr. Albus Salam, one of the pioneers of science in Pakistan.