Pakistani English literature

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Pakistani English literature refers to English literature that has been developed and evolved in Pakistan, as well as by members of the Pakistani diaspora who write in the English language. English is one of the official languages of Pakistan (the other being Urdu) and has a history going back to the British colonial rule in South Asia (the British Raj); the national dialect spoken in the country is known as Pakistani English. Today, it occupies an important and integral part in modern Pakistani literature.[1][1] Dr. Alamgir Hashmi introduced the term "Pakistani Literature [originally written] in English" with his "Preface" to his pioneering book Pakistani Literature: The Contemporary English Writers (New York, 1978; Islamabad, 1987) as well as through his other scholarly work and the seminars and courses taught by him in many universities since 1970's. It was established as an academic discipline in the world following his lead and further work by other scholars, and it is now a widely popular field of study.

Background[edit]

English language poetry from Pakistan from the beginning held a special place in South Asian writing, on account of the new trends represented by Shahid Suhrawardy, Ahmed Ali, Alamgir Hashmi, Taufiq Rafat, Daud Kamal, Maki Kureishi and others. Fiction from Pakistan began to receive recognition in the latter part of the 20th century. The early success of Pakistani English poets was followed in fiction by the prose works written by Ahmed Ali and Zulfikar Ghose, and by such figures as Bapsi Sidhwa, the Parsi author of The Crow Eaters, Cracking India (1988) and other novels. In the diaspora, Hanif Kureshi commenced a prolific career with the novel The Buddha of Suburbia (1990), which won the Whitbread Award. Moniza Alvi published several poetry collections and won British literary prizes. Tariq Ali published numerous novels and plays and broadcast TV scripts.Aamer Hussein wrote a series of acclaimed short story collections. Sara Suleri published her literary memoir, Meatless Days (1989). Many short story collections and some play scripts were also received well. The Pakistan Academy of Letters has awarded its prestigious prizes to a number of English writers.

In the early years of the 21st century, a number of Pakistani novelists writing in English won or were shortlisted for international awards. Mohsin Hamid published his first novel Moth Smoke (2000), which won the Betty Trask Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; he has since published his second novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Kamila Shamsie, who won her first literary award in Pakistan for her first novel, was shortlisted for the John Llewelyn Rhys award for her third novel, Kartography (2002); she has since published her fourth novel, Broken Verses. Uzma Aslam Khan was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia region) for her second novel, Trespassing (2003). British-Pakistani writer Nadeem Aslam won the Kiriyama Prize for his second book, Maps for Lost Lovers (2004). The first novel of Mohammed Hanif, A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008) was shortlisted for the 2008 Guardian First Book Award.[2] Emerging authors Kamila Shamsie and Daniyal Mueenuddin have garnered wide attention by now.[3]Few young poets are also choosing English as medium of their expression. Sabbahuddin Hunzai is one such young poet. Hunzai has published his first book "Reflection" in 2004 and "Revelation" in 2013. The unique taste of his poetry has given him some space to stand amongst the few English poets in the country. Books of Sabbahuddin Hunzai

Journalism[edit]

There is a growing English press and media in Pakistan. Several English-language newspapers of national and international repute have taken root in the country, with the most prominent being Dawn, established in the 1940s and Daily Times (Pakistan). The other important 1940s newspaper, The Pakistan Times, closed down in 1990s.

Prominent figures[edit]

Omer Tarin, Ejaz Rahim, Hina Babar Ali, Waqas Ahmed Khwaja, Harris Khalique, Ilona Yusuf and Mehvash Amin are now publishing poetry. Other household names prominent in English literary circles include Zulfikar Ghose, Kamila Shamsie, and Qaisra Shahraz. Zaib-un-Nissa Hamidullah was among the first generation in English journalism and literary writing in Pakistan. Those who have written and spoken extensively about Pakistani English Literature, following the seminal scholarly and critical work of Alamgir Hashmi, are Tariq Rahman, Muneeza Shamsie, Sabbahuddin Hunzai, and Amra Raza.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Prolegomena to the Study of Pakistani English and Pakistani Literature in English" (1989), Alamgir Hashmi, Pakistani Literature (Islamabad), 2:1 1993.
  2. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (31 October 2008). "Five of the best in line for the Guardian first book award". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  3. ^ "Pakistani Authors Catch Literary World's Attention", Rob Gifford, Morning Edition, NPR, 29 May 2009

Further reading[edit]

  • Pakistani Literature: The Contemporary English Writers edited by Dr. Alamgir Hashmi (New York: World University Service, 1978; Islamabad: Gulmohar Press, 1987) (2nd ed.). ISBN 0-00-500408-X (OCLC #19328427; LC Card #87931006)
  • Dr. Alamgir Hashmi, Commonwealth Literature: An Essay Towards the Re-definition of a Popular/Counter Culture, 1983.
  • Dr Tariq Rahman. A History of Pakistani Literature in English Lahore: Vanguard, 1991
  • Muneeza Shamsie (Ed). A Dragonfly in the Sun: An Anthology of Pakistani Writing in English (1997) ISBN 0-19-577784-0
  • Leaving Home: Towards A New Millennium: A Collection of English Prose by Pakistani Writers (2001) ISBN 0-19-579529-6
  • Sabbahuddin Hunzai. " Reflection" ( 2004)
  • Dr. Amra Raza. Spatial Constructs in Alamgir Hashmi's Poetry Lambert Academic Publishing, 2011
  • Sabbahuddin Hunzai. " Revelation" ( 2013)