Tag Archives: Mohammed Hanif

How Mohammed Hanif, author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes, reacts to Hong Kong Explosions


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.” Read more

Why did A Case of Exploding Mangoes create a blast in translation


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. Read more

The Karachi Literature Festival heads to London to celebrate Pakistan’s 70th birthday

The famous literature festival will take place at Southbank Centre on 20th May in celebration of Pakistan’s 70th birthday, states KLF’s website.

Mohammed Hanif will kickstart the event with unique insights into Pakistan’s history, hopes, and dilemmas. The extensive list of speakers includes designer Maheen Khan, writers Kamila Shamsie and H M Naqvi, PPP member Sherry Rehman, actor Nimra Bucha, among others.

Khumariyaan, Saif Samejo, lead vocalist and founder of the band The Sketches and Lahooti Melo will be performing at the festival.

This is the first time the KLF will be taking place outside of Pakistan. Read more

Source: DAWN

Why an increasing amount of South Asian writers are getting picked up by publishers

Gone are the days when readers would look up to international authors who had earlier set a benchmark for sophisticated literature. With Indians picking up more and more desi literature in English off the shelves, the sale of South Asian books has shot up over the decade.

South Asian writers, apart from harking their original, authentic and rooted voice, call for a diverse set of readers who not only relate to the regional synergies, but also crave for elegant storytelling. This is one of the reasons South Asian writing has increasingly become more popular among readers as well as publishers.

Bookshops across India and publishing companies report that readership for South Asian literature is constantly on the rise, making it one of the most popular genres at the moment, the sixth largest in the world and second for the English language. Read more

Source: Times of India

Penguin Random House partners with Twitter Books India: #twolittlebirds

Furthering its commitment to connecting its authors with the widest possible audience, Penguin Random House in India this evening partnered with Twitter India to announce the introduction of their Twitter Books vertical in the country.

At their party at the Jaipur Literature Festival, Penguin Random House became the first publisher in the region to be verified by Twitter on their @penguinbooksindia handle.  A number of Penguin Random House authors, including Shobhaa De, Amitav Ghosh, Ravinder Singh, Durjoy Datta, Mohammed Hanif, Devdutt Pattanaik, Bibek Debroy and KR Meera have also become the first authors to be verified within the new books vertical. Meru Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief, Literary Publishing, has been the first publisher to be verified.

Through the Twitter Books vertical, Penguin Random House will work closely with its writers to maximise the opportunities the platform presents, both in terms of written content and video through Vine and Periscope, to engage in even more real-time conversations with readers, and potential readers.

Penguin Random House will not only use the platform to expand its writers’, existing reach but also introduce new authors to the medium.  This evening India’s most loved author Ruskin Bond joined twitter under the verified Twitter handle @RealRuskinBond. His first Tweet read: “Hello World. Delighted to be on Twitter”

“Authors and readers are at the heart of everything we do at Penguin Random House, and we are dedicated to helping the two connect as easily and directly as possible,” said Gaurav Shrinagesh, CEO Penguin Random House India.  “In an increasingly digital world, the online space has fast become the most effective way of discovering books and authors.  We already have the largest digital footprint and engaged social media communities in the region but are delighted to now be working with Twitter India and their new books vertical to broaden this audience further.”


“I don’t really think Jinnah is anyone’s hero”: Mohammed Hanif

Author and journalist Mohammed Hanif speaks his mind about how the idea of a hero is conceived in our society: TNS

hanifThe News on Sunday: Nations tend to pick their heroes. How important are heroes for nation-building? What goes into the making of a hero?

Mohammed Hanif: I don’t know if heroes are important for nation building or not. All I know is that we have had too many heroes lately, we are fast running out of honours, medals, and clichés to bestow upon them. It seems you have to get gang raped, get shot in the head, or die at the hands of a state-employed torturer to become a hero. Why can’t we just have people who turn up for work? Why can’t we just stop thinking that we are god’s gift to this universe?

Read More

The case of exploding Pakistani literature

Mohsin hamidWriters in the country are preferring prose over poetry and a predominance of political themes in Pakistan’s English language fiction, finds Ameena Saiyid: dna

As elsewhere in South Asia, creative writing in the English language is not a new development in Pakistan. However, it has been largely over the last two decades that Pakistani literature in English has achieved prominence and has come firmly into the focus of world literary consciousness.

As a country, Pakistan has undergone a series of seismic changes through its history. Its literature has also seen many changes. I would like to focus here on the two main sets of changes. The first is the changing trend in choice of literary form, i.e. the rising preference for prose over poetry; the second relates to changes in literary content, as reflected in the growing predominance of political themes in Pakistan’s English language fiction.

Read More

Pakistani authors to attend Jaipur lit fest

Several Pakistani authors will be coming to India later this month to participate in the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) amid an atmosphere of hostility and cultural embargo, both here and in Pakistan.

This year’s edition of the DSC-JLF will host two of Pakistan’s most celebrated authors, Jamil Ahmad and Mohammed Hanif, both of whom had been a part of JLF-2012.

Mr. Ahmad’s “The Wandering Falcon” and Mr. Hanif’s “Our Lady of Alice Bhatti” are also shortlisted for the 2013 DSC Prize for South Asian literature.

The festival will also host sessions by prominent Pakistani feminist poet and author Fahmida Riaz, Pakistani-Canadian author M.A. Farooqi and British-Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam.

Read more

Amitav Ghosh, Jeet Thayil on DSC Prize longlist

Amitav Ghosh and Jeet Thayil are among the 16 writers on the longlist for the $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature announced here on Tuesday.

Ghosh has been selected for River of Smoke; and Thayil for his debut novel Narcopolis.

Other prominent names from the subcontinent include Mohammed Hanif (Pakistan), and Tahmina Anam (Bangladesh).

The winner from a shortlist, to be revealed next month, will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2013.

The jury, chaired by K. Satchidanandan, said the list represented “the richness and variety of fiction written around the life of South Asians or people of South Asian origin within and outside their own countries.”

Mr. Satchidanandan said the jury was “excited by the unprecedented response” from publishers. There were 81 entries from around the world “charmingly diverse in their theme and treatment and well aware of the political, cultural and psychological dimensions of life in the societies and people they were dealing with.”

Read more

Twist of the Mother Tongue

The author jibes at his triple selves, in triplicate

By Mohammed Hanif

Sometimes fellow writers and journalists ask me how I choose whether to write in Urdu or English or Punjabi. I usually start my answer with a self-deprecating remark: I can write badly in three-and-a-half languages. Like most self-deprecating remarks this one barely conceals a boast: I read and write Urdu; I can also borrow my ideas from ancient Punjabi, unlike you posh prats who rely entirely on English. But why would someone boast about their ability to read and write in their mother tongue (Punjabi, in my case) or express themselves in their national language?

I guess you show off because most people who write in English cannot pick up a newspaper in their local language to find out what yesterday’s riot was about. It’s not their fault. They went to good schools, sometimes schools so good that the main purpose of their education was to ensure their talents remained unpolluted by local languages and cultures.

Read more