Well-known authors and names from the publishing industry gathered here at an award function on Saturday for the Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC) short story writing competition.
In the first-ever such competition by the professional organisation for women journalists, the three best writers were awarded among the 75 entries.
'As a feminist publisher, I find it interesting to see more and more women willing to write. We often talk if there's 'women's writing' in India, but on seeing writers coming up with ideas on all sorts of issues, it's great,' said Urvashi Butalia, director and co-founder of publishing house Kali for Women.
'And other than just works of non-fiction, women writers are also coming up with pertinent issues such as female foeticide and dowry brought out through fiction writing,' Butalia added.
Prasar Bharati chairperson and founder-president of IWPC, Mrinal Pande, said at the award ceremony: 'It is notable that some of the best writers in the country are women. And they are present among us. But when writing begins to happen, the mind is androgynous. There is a man inside every woman writer and vice versa,' Pande said.
Treading into the art of story writing was pulling women writers into literature, the authors said.
'Short story writing is the most difficult kind of writing as opposed to the popular impression that this form is inferior or easier than longer novels. Writers should not get discouraged by this wall of opposition. These are exciting times for both writers and publishers in India, and we find more women wanting to write now,' said Butalia.
The jury included author Githa Hariharan, Urvashi Butalia, and Antara Dev Sen, editor of The Little Magazine.
The first prize was won by Chennai-based writer Hema S Raman for 'A Good Father is Hard to Find', the second prize was bagged by freelance journalist Azera Parveen Rahman, who reports for newswire IANS, for her story 'Letters to Unborn Sister', while the third prize went to Vijaya Venkataraman, who teaches Spanish at Delhi University, for her work 'A Moment of Reckoning'.