Tag Archives: Pakistani literature

Five Books By Pakistani Writers That Deserve To Be Celebrated More Often

It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine, for instance, the history of literary fiction in English coming out of India and its neighbouring countries without paying close attention to Pakistan. From Mohammed Hanif to Moni Mohsin, Fatima Bhutto to Ali Sethi, Nadeem Aslam to Mohsin Hamid, the list of writers based in Pakistan, or of Pakistani origin, is diverse and distinguished. But these five that follow deserve a special mention, simply because their understated charm and power to delight are not celebrated often enough — or as much as they should be.

The Crow Eaters, Bapsi Sidhwa

One of the funniest novels by a Pakistani writer, The Crow Eaters was Sidhwa’s first published book. Set in the early years of the 20th century, it tells the story of Freddy Junglewalla, who moves his family — his pregnant wife, baby daughter and irritable mother-in-law — from their ancestral home, somewhere in the hinterland of Pakistan, to the glittering cosmopolis of Lahore.

In the city, he embarks on a successful venture, but as Freddy’s fortunes grow, so does his bickering with his mother-in-law, the domineering Jerbanoo. Written in faux-elegant British English, every sentence of this large-hearted novel is laced with wit. An endearing portrait of the Parsees in Pakistan, this is a gripping read from the beginning till the end.

The Wandering Falcon, Jamil Ahmad

A quiet but haunting debut, this collection of stories by a Pakistani civil servant who spent several years in Baluchistan was much acclaimed for its delicate realism. The characters — poor peasants, tribal lords — are drawn vividly from life and are usually the stuff of news reports coming out this region. Ahmad brought these figures to life with poetic brushstrokes and in his unfailingly controlled prose.

Written over a period of time, the stories were retrieved from his drawer and published in this volume when Ahmad was in his 70s. The collection was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize, one of Asia’s most prestigious literary awards, in 2011. Read more

Karachi Literature Festival travels to London

Pakistan’s biggest literary event, the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) organized by Oxford University Press (OUP), will be launched in London on May 20, 2017 at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, as part of their Alchemy festival.

Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press,  Nadir Cheema, Tariq Suleman, and Nigham Shahid of Bloomsbury Pakistan (a research collective based in London), and Rukhsana Ahmed, members of the KLF London executive committee.

KLF London will present sessions on Pakistan’s rich history, literature, and culture, and promises to be a vibrant affair. The event, which replaces the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) at Southbank, will be a great opportunity for London’s significant population of South Asian origin to gain an insight into the region’s complex history and culture as expressed through its literature and arts. Read more

This too is Pakistani Literature

Fahmida Riaz on the wordless apartheid practiced against progressive literature in Pakistan in The Dawn

In Pakistani literature, an undeclared, wordless apartheid has been practiced against progressive literature, or what is known the world over as engaged literature. Consequently, in most books of literary criticism, references to engaged literature are conspicuous by their absence, unless a work is open to some other interpretation such as lyricism, imagism, surrealism or even structuralism, a comparatively new entrant in the jargon of our Urdu literati.

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‘Literature a reflection of collective mind of nation’

Literature is a reflection of collective mind of any nation, said Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) Chairman Abdul Hameed during a briefing on the occasion of publication of 98th issue of quarterly Adbiyat.

PAL has recently brought out quarterly Adbiyat in which besides creative writings of the distinctive writers and poets, young writers, women and writers form Balochistan have been provided an opportunity to get their literary attempts published.

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