Bangladeshi writer Mashiul Alam's 'Milk' has successfully landed on the Himal Short Story Competition 2019 shortlist. Translated from Bangla into English by Shabnam Nadiya, the story is spun around a couple who toil away to survive. Once a child is born, the couple fails to take care of it and, at one stage, it is tended by a dog whose puppies were eaten by wild dogs. Soon the boy takes to drinking dog milk and once its parents find out the dog is killed. What follows than is apocalyptic flood of milk, ending in a symbolic catastrophe that works as an eye-opener for all.
Dwelling on the submission of entries, Himal editors announce on their site, "The response to our spontaneous end-of-year short story competition exceeded all expectations, and we send our thanks to all the writers who submitted their work, while adding that in the two weeks that they were open for submissions, Himal received 319 stories."
The submission came from near and far, including Bangladesh, Canada, China, Ghana, India, Malawi, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, the UAE, and the USA. These are only the writers who revealed where they were from.
"We read them all, drawing every editor on our team into a reading marathon, and to discuss and decide the shortlist we are announcing today, with the greatest pleasure," the editors wrote.
Below are the shortlisted story titles in alphabetical order:
"A Cold Heart" by Dur e Aziz Amna, "Chudail in Love"by Shivani Kamal Bhasin, "Dear Swara Bhaskar" by Pranaya SJB Rana, "A Family Outing" by Prithvi Pudhiarkar, "Momos and Soup" by Jhinuk Sen, "Mardangi" by Anika Khan, "Philomena Sequeira" by Lindsay Pereira, "Red" by Roshni Sengupta, "Red Coral" by Sangeetha Bhaskaran, "Second Class" by Priyanka Mashelkar, "Tesu" by Riddhi Dastidar.
All the shortlisted writers have been offered publication of their story in Himal. The publisher has a plan to publish these stories in early 2020.