Kamila Shamsie

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Kamila Naheed Shamsie[1]
Born 1973 (age 41–42)
Occupation Writer
Nationality Pakistani
Alma mater Hamilton College, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Genre Novels
Notable works Author of In the City by the Sea (1998) (novel)

Kamila Naheed Shamsie (born 13 August 1973)[2] is a Pakistani novelist who writes in the English language.


Shamsie is the daughter of literary journalist and editor Muneeza Shamsie, niece of Attia Hosain and granddaughter of the writer Begum Jahanara Habibullah. Her sister Saman Shamsie used to be a college counselor and taught O-level Physics and SAT writing and reading at Karachi Grammar School. She was brought up in Karachi and attended Karachi Grammar School. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Hamilton College, and an MFA from the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was influenced by the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali. In 2007, she moved to London and is now a dual national of the UK and Pakistan.[1]


Shamsie wrote her first novel, In The City by the Sea, while still at UMass, and it was published in 1998. It was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in the UK,[3] and Shamsie received the Prime Minister's Award for Literature in Pakistan in 1999. Her second novel, Salt and Saffron, followed in 2000, after which she was selected as one of Orange's 21 Writers of the 21st century. Her third novel, Kartography, received widespread critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys award in the UK.[3] Both Kartography and her next novel, Broken Verses, have won the Patras Bokhari Award from the Academy of Letters in Pakistan. Her fifth novel Burnt Shadows was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.[3] Her books have been translated into a number of languages. She is also a reviewer and columnist – primarily for The Guardian – and has been a judge for several literary awards, including the Orange Award for New Writers and the Guardian First Book Award.

In 2009, Kamila Shamsie donated the short story "The Desert Torso" to Oxfam's Ox-Tales project – four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Her story was published in the Air collection.[4] In 2010, Shamsie won an Award from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.[5] She attended the 2011 Jaipur Literature Festival, where she spoke about her style of writing. She participated in the Bush Theatre's 2011 project Sixty-Six Books, with a piece based on a book of the King James Bible.[6] In 2013 she was included in the Granta list of 20 best young British writers.[7] She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[3]



  1. ^ a b c "Kamila Shamsie on applying for British Citizenship: 'I never felt safe'", The Guardian, 4 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014
  2. ^ "Kamila Shamsie: Following in her father's footsteps". South Asian Diaspora. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Kamila Shamsie". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Desert Torso" – A short story from the OX-Tales series/
  5. ^ http://www.anisfield-wolf.org
  6. ^ Kamila Shamsie - "The Letter in response to Philemon", Sixty-Six Books, Bush Theatre.
  7. ^ Best of Young British Novelists 4, Granta 123.

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