Pakistani novelist Intizar Husain was awarded the French honour, Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters), this year by Ambassador Philippe Thiébaud at a hotel in Lahore. After Manto, he is the best-known Pakistani writer in the world. What kind of fiction does he write?
In his own critique of literature in Dawn earlier this year, he wrote: “One big difficulty with our modern fiction is that it has developed a love for an intellectualised mode of expression. Perhaps it started with the emergence of the trends of symbolism and abstraction in our short story. Firstly, these trends had an intellectual attitude inherent in them. In addition, those were the years when Sartre was very much in vogue in our literary and intellectual circles. We discovered that a philosophy known as existentialism was associated with his name. This came to stay as an added charm to his literary reputation and it worked well with us.”