The Pakistani novel today

Filed under: Fiction

Nadeem Aslam, Pankaj Mishra and Kamila Shamsie discuss the Pakistani novel at the Tagore Memorial Meeting.

‘Pakistan produces people of extraordinary bravery,’ Nadeem Aslam has written, ‘but no nation should ever require its citizens to be that brave.’ His sentiment is shared by Kamila Shamsie, and the work of both novelists has focused on the human cost of conflict in their homeland. Nadeem Aslam was born in Pakistan, and experienced the devastation of General Zia’s martial rule before his family fled to Huddersfield when he was 14. He has traced the plight of his compatriots from small-town Pakistan in Season of the Rainbirds (1994), to the north of England in Maps for Lost Lovers (2005), and back again in The Blind Man’s Garden, published earlier this year. Kamila Shamsie grew up in Karachi, and many of her novels – In the City by the Sea, Salt and Saffron, Kartography and Broken Verses – have centred on struggles in her hometown. In a conversation chaired by essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra, Aslam and Shamsie discuss writing fiction, set in Pakistan and beyond, during the ‘war on terror’ years.

Recorded on Monday 2 December 2013.

Related RSL Fellows

Nadeem Aslam 2010
Kamila Shamsie 2011
Pankaj Mishra 2008