Daastan launched its very first Literary Fellowship program in the fall of 2016, which turned out to be a huge success and an instant hit. This not only benefited the fellows, who were given multiple opportunities and exposed to a plethora of resources and networks, but it also helped the team of Daastan meet a very cool bunch of people seeking to improve the landscape of the literary industry in Pakistan. Upon their graduation some of them were also be taken on board – especially those who wanted to join in the cool happenings of our space.
The Second Batch:
With another year coming to a close, the team decided to make the Fellowship a recurring one, so as to spread the message of the revival of literature, by enabling people who were interested to come see it first hand and become a part of it as well. With the announcement of Batch Two of the Literary Fellowship program, submissions rolled in by the dozens. This time around, the team received more than a hundred applications, double the amount received for the debut batch. The applications were screened thoroughly, and around 40 people were shortlisted and called for an online interview session. A friendly discussion was carried out with each to determine their passion for literature, their willingness to work for the achievements of their dreams, and their past involvements in our field. It was an even harder job to screen for and select the bunch that would be joining Daastan for the next three months, but eventually 25 people were chosen to comprise the second batch of the Literary Fellowship. The selection was made on the basis of their clarity of vision, their justification for the claims they provided in the application form, as well as their relevant experience.
The Literary Achievements of the Fellowship:
This time around, the fellowship
was divided into four categories, i.e. Marketing, Editing, Digitizing and
Design, and each fellow was made a part of the module they favored and/or the
module best fit for them according to their experience. What came together was
a group astounding in abilities which, after being groomed, bagged multiple
prizes. Two of the fellows, Ms Maham Syedain, and Ms Arooha Arif won
Silver and Bronze in US Story Writing competition, and Ms. Nadia won
Urdu writing competition on The Ancient Souls. Several of the fellows were
featured all over the digital media for their different achievements, and a big
bunch of them went on to graduate as well. Chief among them was Ms. Fatema Bhaiji, who launched a
Queer-Lit magazine designed specifically for literature focused on the LGBTQ+
community named “Outcast”.
Another fellow, Ms. Arooha Arif, launched a book club in her
hometown to encourage readership and connect like-minded people, and yet
another graduate Ms. Sameen Aziz launched a digitizing company by the name of “Harf Nagar”, focused on
providing digitizing and bringing handwritten content to print ready form. Many
of the graduates were hired into the team and given various positions. The
highlights of the second batch’s achievements can be viewed here.