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) August 13, 1973 (age 45)
Karachi, Pakistan
Alma materHamilton College
University of Massachusetts Amherst
RelativesMuneeza Shamsie (mother)

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

Early life and education[edit]

Shamsie was born to journalist and editor Muneeza Shamsie and is granddaughter of Begum Jahanara Habibullah.[2] 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. 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 in college, and it was published in 1998 when she was 25.[3] It was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in the UK,[4] and Shamsie received the Prime Minister's Award for Literature in Pakistan in 1999.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] Her third novel, Kartography (2002), received widespread critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys award in the UK.[4] Both Kartography and her next novel, Broken Verses (2005), have won the Patras Bokhari Award from the Academy of Letters in Pakistan.[citation needed] Her fifth novel Burnt Shadows (2009) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction[4] and won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction.[5] A God in Every Stone (2014) was shortlisted for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize[6] and the Baileys Women's Prize For Fiction.[7] Her seventh novel, Home Fire, was longlisted for the 2017 Booker Prize,[8] and in 2018 won the Women's Prize for Fiction.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11] In 2013 she was included in the Granta list of 20 best young British writers.[12] She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[4]


  • 1999: Prime Minister's Award for Literature in Pakistan, for In the City by the Sea
  • 2002: Patras Bokhari Award from the Academy of Letters in Pakistan, for Patras Bokhari Award from the Academy of Letters in Pakistan
  • 2005: Patras Bokhari Award, for Broken Verses
  • 2010: Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, for Burnt Shadows[5]
  • 2018: Women's Prize for Fiction, for Home Fire[13]


  • 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


  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 e "Kamila Shamsie: Following in her father's footsteps". South Asian Diaspora. 8 March 2013. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  3. ^ Hanman, Natalie (2014-04-11). "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 2017-08-15.
  4. ^ a b c d "Kamila Shamsie". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Kamila Shamsie | Burnt Shadows", Anisfiels-Wolf Book Awards.
  6. ^ "2015 Shortlist announced". Walter Scott Prize. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  7. ^ Driscoll, Brogan (2015-04-13). "Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist Announced". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  8. ^ Beer, Tom (August 14, 2017). "What to read this week". Newsday. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  9. ^ Flood, Alison (6 June 2018), "Kamila Shamsie wins Women's prize for fiction for 'story of our times'", The Guardian.
  10. ^ "The Desert Torso" – A short story from the OX-Tales series/
  11. ^ Kamila Shamsie - "The Letter in response to Philemon" Archived 13 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Sixty-Six Books, Bush Theatre.
  12. ^ Best of Young British Novelists 4, Granta 123.
  13. ^ "Announcing the 2018 Women’s Prize winner!", Women's Prize for Fiction

External links[edit]