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In 2008, the year it was published, A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif was long-listed for the Booker Prize. In 2009, it won the Best First Book Award from Commonwealth Book Prize. The writer won a national award in 2018, the third-highest civilian award of Pakistan, the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes is centred around General Zia ul Haq’s mysterious assassination in 1988. It is a comical take of the incident with real and fictionalised characters calling out for a laugh — a satire at best. The writer says “writing the novel was his attempt to make sense of Zia’s dictatorship and the military.” He added, “By mocking them…You’re also in a way trying to humanize them.”

The book was originally written in English and, therefore not easily read by many in Pakistan.  All the trouble started after the book was translated to Urdu. Now, the army is cracking down on the book — 250 copies have been confiscated.

Commonwealth Book Prize will be discontinued from 2014; the prize will instead focus on short stories, according to an official announcement.

Commonwealth Writers develops the craft of individual writers and builds communities of emerging voices which can influence the decision-making processes affecting their lives. The Short Story Prize aims to identify talented writers who will go on to inspire their local communities.

The 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be chaired by Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize and previously Deputy Editor of Granta and Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House.