Stories about writer

Cliches and curry: Writing fiction in Pakistan

As an aspiring novelist, I have found it increasingly important to understand the literary merits of contemporary fiction in Pakistan. This entailed a thorough investigation of genre, themes, stylistic elements and above all, the implementation of creative ideas. The purpose of examining these features is not to understand what standard is expected or what is being read. On the contrary, the intention of this exercise is for novelists to determine how this standard and readership can be diversified through their literary contribution. The challenge I began writing a novel when I was  seventeen. After two years of constant labour, I set the manuscript ...

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Karachi Lit Fest: Liberalising the liberals

“And if the festival is attended predominantly by people from one part of town,” said co-organiser Asif Farrukhi in his opening address, “so what?” Really – so what? Even if the venue had been more central, the odds are that people from across the bridge wouldn’t have turned out in throngs. It is people from ‘this side of the bridge’ who generally attend these literary or literary-ish events, and the Carlton Hotel, however ill-appointed its halls, was a terribly convenient venue for the Defense crowd. At least the rooms and auditoriums were overflowing with enthusiasts. No, I am not going to make snide ...

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Generation ‘Yes, we can’: What are they doing not wasting time?

Will someone tell these twenty-something Pakistani men and women to go out and play cricket or go party with friends or something? What are they doing, writing books, learning classical singing and–you won’t believe this – fixing simulators on Naval submarines! The new crop of young professionals and fresh graduates is all about pushing their limits. They take action, here and now. Here’s how they do it: Starting early This “yes, we can” generation starts shooting for the stars earlier and earlier, barely out of their teens, they put on their thinking caps and put their genius to work. Khadijah Khan started to ...

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Dan Brown: A disappointing one-hit wonder

“The Da Vinci Code” hit book shelves in 2003, and went on to become the best-selling English language novel of the 21st century. Very few books dig down into the roots of history, challenge your beliefs and provide food for thought; this one did. Besides igniting some ferocious controversies and becoming a global phenomenon, the book established its author, Dan Brown, as a talent to watch. However, Brown’s next books have failed to live up to the standards that he himself modeled. There’s a blatant sense of repetition and a tone of monotony easily palpable in his novels that followed. Take ...

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Talking about Sufism: Faiz vs Askari

The national politics have brought us to a point where everybody is engaged in a religious debate. While my contemporaries brave the treacherous ocean’s currents, I, for one, have to plead ignorance of the finer points of the Quran and Hadith studies. Akbar’s verse – I never entered a debate about religion, for I always lacked the extra intelligence it required – has served me well in the perilous times we live in. So it’s not as if I am preparing to enter the debate now; just wondering about the blessed moment when Faiz Ahmed Faiz did. A word first ...

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Ten things I hate about being a writer

1.       Bleeding on the pages. To my chagrin, I’m one of those writers who unconsciously project themselves in their writing. I’m frequently baffled when people ask why my character is so similar to me or people I know until they point out the obvious details I’ve missed. 2.       Getting too involved. It’s bad enough that my best friend/editor keeps begging me not to kill a particular character she’s fond of, if I didn’t write in the fantasy genre, there would be no rational way for me to bring back people from the dead just because I like them too much ...

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Dr Farooq: The loss of an intellectual

The assassination of religious scholar, intellectual and author of several books, Dr Muhammad Farooq Khan, reminded us once again that anyone who dares to challenge extremist and militant forces will meet with a tragic end. Dr Farooq, a psychiatrist, was killed along with his assistant while he was taking a lunch break in his Mardan clinic. According to reports, two bearded men entered the clinic and wished to see the doctor. Dr Farooq’s assistant was killed upon resistance. One of them fatally shot Dr Farooq while his accomplice stood guard at the door. The perpetrators fled after committing the ...

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Our arts councils

Lahore Arts Council has completed three years under the current management. At a farewell reception for the soon-to-be-replaced governing council Ataul Haq Qasmi, the chairman, was congratulated by one and all for the changes he has brought about. Just one decision, to end the exclusion of literature from its programmes, made so much difference. Several international conferences were held successfully at a time when the security situation was considered anything but hospitable with guests even from India participating. Not that the other arts were ignored. The most recent literary conference included papers and discussions on music, painting and theatre. It ...

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