Kitaab’s The Best Asian Short Stories (TBASS) 2018: Winners and selected authors

Today, when latitudes shift, cultures collide, and we are all travellers in one form or another, in ways perhaps unprecedented, these stories must be told.
              — Dr Debotri Dhar, editor TBASS 2018

The Best Asian Short Stories

Putting together an anthology of short stories is not easy. Reading across a continent and picking from among the best of its writers and their stories is a daunting endeavour. TBASS 2018 is the fruit of this undertaking — 24 writers, 13 countries — led by Dr Debotri Dhar, Editor, TBASS 2018 and Zafar Anjum, Series editor.

‘The winners of TBASS 2018 are Rakhshanda Jalil (India), Aditi Mehrotra (India), and Martin Bradley (Malaysia; originally UK),’ said Dr. Debotri Dhar. ‘I also loved the translation of Japanese writer Mogami Ippei by Avery Udagawa (Thailand; originally USA), and there were many other excellent entries, from more than 13 countries.

‘While Rakhshanda Jalil is a seasoned writer known to many in South Asia, Aditi Mehrotra is an aspiring Indian writer whose story delightfully juxtaposed textual passages and news clippings on women’s empowerment with everyday life vignettes of domesticity from small-town India. Martin Bradley’s story highlighted the intersecting themes of travel, historical memory, and communication across differences. Today, when latitudes shift, cultures collide, and we are all travellers in one form or another, in ways perhaps unprecedented, these stories must be told.’

‘The response to TBASS 2017 has been tremendous. That really encouraged us to continue the series and redouble our efforts,’ said Zafar Anjum, Series Editor of TBASS and founder of Kitaab. ‘TBASS tries to represent the best of Asian voices, and we are specially keen to provide a literary platform to emerging, new voices from the region.  The sheer writing talent that we have gathered in this volume is a testament to Asia’s creative fecundity.’


  1. Rakhshanda Jalil (India) Story title: ‘Diamonds are Forever’
  2. Aditi Mehrotra (India) Story title: ‘Don’t Ask! Poocho mat!’
  3. Martin Bradley (Malaysia; originally UK) Story title: ‘Bougainvillea’
  4. Also, Avery Udagawa (Thailand; originally US) Story title: ‘Festival Time.’ Translation of Japanese writer Mogami Ippei. She is working on the translation rights.

Others selected:

  1. Vanessa Ng (Singapore) Story title: ‘The Grey Thread’
  2. William Tham (Malaysia) Story title: ‘At the Moonlit River’s Edge’
  3. Rebecca Otawa (Japan; originally from Australia) Story title ‘The Rescuer’
  4. Ananya Mahapatra (India) Story title: ‘The Bureaucrat’s Wife’
  5. Zarin Virji (India) Story title: ‘Lola’s Honeymoon’
  6. Anjana Balakrishnan (India) Story title: ‘For Chikki’s Sake’
  7. Reba Khatun (British Bangladeshi) Story title: ‘The Attack’
  8. Geralyn Pinto (India) Story title: ‘Cakes’
  9. Greg Tan (Singapore) Story title ‘Mango and Sticky Rice’
  10. Vrinda Baliga (India) Story title: ‘The Cosmic Dance’
  11. Malini Gupta (India) Story title: ‘The Cycle’
  12. Vineetha Mokkil (India) Story title ‘The Amulet’
  13. Migs Bravo Dutt (Singapore; originally Phillipines) Story title: ‘Begin Again’
  14. Anjaly Thomas Story title: ‘Lucas’s Story’
  15. Somrita Urni Ganguly (India) Story title: ‘Boba’ Translation of Bengali Writer Banaphool
  16. Hezreen Abdul Rashid (Malaysia) Story title: ‘Letting Go’


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