Finding humour in tense anxious situations has been the forte of award-winning and acclaimed author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes, Mohammed Hanif. While he has been under flak in his own country, Pakistan, after the aforesaid book was translated to Urdu, he had been invited to Hong Kong to give the PEN ( Poets, Essayists, Novelists) Hong Kong Literature & Human Rights lecture at Hong Kong University.
In a report published this year based on an interview at that time, we are told he had a tough time making it across the violence to the talk which needed to be rescheduled. Said a frazzled Hanif: “I’d rather have running water and safe streets, I’d rather have boring normality. If that means dull literature, I’ll happily make that bargain.”
PEN which encapsulates all literary forms as human-rights watchdog, had planned for Hanif an evening with local writers titled “We Still Laugh: Humour as a Literary Relief Valve” last year in Hong Kong. The meet needed to be rescheduled and it took place in a small bookshop as the HKU campus suffered closures from the violence.
Click here to read about his reception in Hong Kong in a recently published report based on an interview at that time in South China Morning Post.
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