Kamila Shamsie

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Kamila Naheed Shamsie

Shamsie reading at "The Global Soul: Imagining the Cosmopolitan" 2017
Shamsie reading at "The Global Soul: Imagining the Cosmopolitan" 2017
Born (1973-08-13) 13 August 1973 (age 48)
Karachi, Pakistan
Alma materHamilton College
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Notable worksHome Fire (2017)
Notable awardsWomen's Prize for Fiction
RelativesMuneeza Shamsie (mother): Attia Hosain (great-aunt)

Kamila Shamsie FRSL (born 13 August 1973)[2] is a Pakistani and British writer and novelist who is known for her award-winning novel Home Fire (2017).[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Shamsie was born into a well-to-do family of intellectuals in Pakistan. Her mother is journalist and editor Muneeza Shamsie, her great-aunt was writer Attia Hosain and she is the granddaughter of memoirist Jahanara Habibullah.[3] She was brought up in Karachi where she attended Karachi Grammar School.[2] She has a BA in Creative Writing from Hamilton College,[2] and an MFA from the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst,[2] where she was influenced by the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali.[4]


Shamsie wrote her first novel, In The City by the Sea, while still in college, and it was published in 1998 when she was 25.[5] It was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in the UK,[6] and Shamsie received the Prime Minister's Award for Literature in Pakistan in 1999.[4] 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.[4] Her third novel, Kartography (2002), received widespread critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys award in the UK.[6] Both Kartography and her next novel, Broken Verses (2005), have won the Patras Bokhari Award from the Academy of Letters in Pakistan.[4] Her fifth novel Burnt Shadows (2009) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction[6] and won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction.[7] A God in Every Stone (2014) was shortlisted for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize[8] and the Baileys Women's Prize For Fiction.[9] Her seventh novel, Home Fire, was longlisted for the 2017 Booker Prize,[10] and in 2018 won the Women's Prize for Fiction.[11]

In 2009, 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.[12] 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.[13] In 2013 she was included in the Granta list of 20 best young British writers.[14] She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Shamsie states that she considers herself Muslim.[15] She moved to London in 2007 and is now a dual national of the UK and Pakistan.[1]

In 2012, she joined the latest incarnation of the Authors XI cricket team, despite never having played the game before. She contributed a chapter, "The Women's XI", to the book The Authors XI: A Season of English Cricket from Hackney to Hambledon (2013), collectively written by members of the team to chronicle their first season together.[16]



  • In the City by the Sea (1998), ISBN 0-14-028181-9
  • Salt and Saffron (2000), ISBN 1-58234-261-X, OCLC 968548654
  • Kartography (2002), ISBN 0-15-602973-1
  • Broken Verses (2005), ISBN 0-15-603053-5
  • Offence: the Muslim case (2009), ISBN 1-906497-03-6, OCLC 232980963
  • Burnt Shadows (2009), ISBN 0-312-55187-8
  • A God in Every Stone (2014), ISBN 978-1-4088-4720-6, OCLC 939530755
  • Home Fire (2017), ISBN 978-1-4088-8677-9

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b c d Jaclyn (8 March 2013). "Kamila Shamsie: Following in her father's footsteps". South Asian Diaspora. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  3. ^ Major, Nick (18 August 2018). "THE SRB INTERVIEW: Kamila Shamsie". Scottish Review of Books. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Agha, Saira (26 August 2016). "Pride of Pakistan:Kamila Shamsie". Daily Times. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  5. ^ Hanman, Natalie (11 April 2014). "Kamila Shamsie: 'Where is the American writer writing about America in Pakistan? There is a deep lack of reckoning'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Kamila Shamsie". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Kamila Shamsie | Burnt Shadows", Anisfiels-Wolf Book Awards.
  8. ^ "2015 Shortlist announced". Walter Scott Prize. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  9. ^ Driscoll, Brogan (13 April 2015). "Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist Announced". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  10. ^ Beer, Tom (14 August 2017). "What to read this week". Newsday. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  11. ^ Flood, Alison (6 June 2018), "Kamila Shamsie wins Women's prize for fiction for 'story of our times'", The Guardian.
  12. ^ Shamsie, Kamila, "The Desert Torso" – A short story from the OX-Tales series.
  13. ^ Kamila Shamsie - "The Letter in response to Philemon" Archived 13 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Sixty-Six Books, Bush Theatre.
  14. ^ Best of Young British Novelists 4, Granta 123.
  15. ^ Nicol, Patricia (20 September 2017). "Author of the moment Kamila Shamsie on what it is to be a Muslim today". Evening Standard. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  16. ^ Authors Cricket Club (2013). The Authors XI: A Season of English Cricket from Hackney to Hambledon. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-4088-4045-0.
  17. ^ "Announcing the 2018 Women’s Prize winner!", Women's Prize for Fiction
  18. ^ Flood, Allison (19 September 2019). "Kamila Shamsie's book award withdrawn over her part in Israel boycott". The Guardian.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]