Tahmima Anam

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Tahmima Anam
Native name
তাহমিমা আনাম
Born (1975-10-08) 8 October 1975 (age 48)[1]
Dhaka, Bangladesh
OccupationWriter, novelist, columnist
Alma materMount Holyoke College (BA)
Harvard University (PhD)
Royal Holloway, University of London (MA)
Years active2007–present
Notable worksA Golden Age
The Good Muslim
The Bones of Grace
Roland O. Lamb
(m. 2010)
RelativesMahfuz Anam (father)
Abul Mansur Ahmed
(paternal grandfather)

Tahmima Anam (Bengali: তাহমিমা আনাম; born 8 October 1975) is a Bangladeshi-born British writer, novelist and columnist.[2] Her first novel, A Golden Age (2007), was the Best First Book winner of the 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prizes. Her follow-up novel, The Good Muslim, was nominated for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize.[3] She is the granddaughter of Abul Mansur Ahmed and daughter of Mahfuz Anam.

Early life[edit]

Anam was born on 8 October 1975 in Dhaka to Mahfuz Anam and Shaheen Anam. At the age of 2, she moved to Paris when both of her parents joined UNESCO as employees. She grew up in Paris, New York and Bangkok, learning the story of the Bangladesh Liberation War from her father who said he took some training to fight in 1971 but East Pakistan became independent by then. Her father was not a shongram fighter.[4][5][6][7]


At the age of 17, she received a scholarship for Mount Holyoke College, from which she graduated in 1997.[6][8] She earned a PhD in anthropology from Harvard University in 2005 for her thesis "Fixing the Past: War, Violence, and Habitations of Memory in Post-Independence Bangladesh."[9] Later, she completed her Master of Arts in creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.[8][4]


In March 2007, Anam's first novel, A Golden Age, was published by John Murray. Inspired by her parents, she set the novel during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was finalist for the Costa First Novel Award. The novel tells the story of a woman named Rehana Haque during the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971.[10] She had also researched the war during her post-graduation career. For the benefit of her research, she stayed in Bangladesh for two years and interviewed hundreds of war fighters, known as shongram fighers. She also worked on the set of Tareque and Catherine Masud’s critically acclaimed film Matir Moina (The Clay Bird), which reflects the events during that war.[11]

The Good Muslim, published in 2011, is a sequel to A Golden Age and deals with the aftermath of the war. It was long listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize. In 2013, Anam was named one of Granta’s "Best of Young British Novelists".[12] In 2015, her short story "Garments", inspired by the Rana Plaza building collapse, was published and won the O. Henry Award[13][14] and was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.[15] In the same year, she became a judge for The Man Booker International Prize 2016.[16]

In 2016, her novel The Bones of Grace was published by HarperCollins.[17] The following year, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[18][19] Anam's op-ed pieces have been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and in the New Statesman. In these, Anam has written about Bangladesh and its growing problems.[20][21][22]

In 2021, her novel The Startup Wife was published by Canongate Books. It was selected as a Best Book of 2021 by the Observer, Stylist, Cosmopolitan, Red and the Daily Mail, and shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2022.[23][24][25]

In 2022, Anam gave a TEDx talk entitled "The Power of Holding Silence: Making the Workplace Work for Women".[26] That same year, Anam's debut, A Golden Age, was chosen for the Queen’s jubilee book list, a list of 70 books from across the Commonwealth marking the seven decades of her reign.[27]

Personal life[edit]

In 2010, she married American inventor Roland O. Lamb, whom she met at Harvard University. The couple has a son named Rumi.[17][28] Rumi was born premature and for five years refused to eat – an ordeal Anam has written about.[29] She has resided in Kilburn, London, for the last decade.[30]

Anam speaks Bangla and English.[31]



  • A Golden Age. John Murray. 2007. ISBN 978-0-7195-6010-1.
  • The Good Muslim. HarperCollins. 2011. ISBN 978-0-06-147876-5.
  • The Bones of Grace. HarperCollins. 2016. ISBN 978-0061478949.
  • The Startup Wife. Canongate Books. 2021. ISBN 978-1838852481.

Short stories[edit]

  • "Saving the World". Granta. No. Autumn. London. 2008.
  • "Anwar Gets Everything". Granta. No. Spring. London. 2013.
  • "Garments". Freeman's. No. Fall 2015. London. 2015.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tahmima Anam author biography BookBrowse
  2. ^ "Tahmima Anam: 'A lot of my feminist rage was born when I read The Bell Jar'". the Guardian. 15 July 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  3. ^ "Women – Welcome to British Bangladeshi Power 100". British Bangladeshi Power 100. January 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Tahmima Anam lifts the veil on Bangladesh's ugly truths". The Times.
  5. ^ Bergquist, Karin (2007). "Mahfuz Anam". Culturebase. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2007. Outspoken editor from Bangladesh
  6. ^ a b Tahmima Anam: ‘I have a complicated relationship with Bangladesh’ The Guardian
  7. ^ "A Daughter of Bangladeshi Revolutionaries Makes Sense of Life After War". The New Yorker.
  8. ^ a b "Tahmima Anam '97 Makes Granta's "Best of Young British Novelists" List". Mount Holyoke College.
  9. ^ A Postmodern Youth Harvard Magazine
  10. ^ "Bookseller report on Tahmima Anam". Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  11. ^ "The outsider". Prothom Alo. 13 January 2007.
  12. ^ "The Best of Young British Novelists" (PDF). Granta.
  13. ^ Tahmima Anam Wins O Henry Award The Daily Star
  14. ^ The O. Henry Prize Stories 2017 - Winning Stories O. Henry Prize
  15. ^ BBC National Short Story Award BBC Radio 4
  16. ^ The Man Booker International Prize 2016: Judging Panel Announced The Man Booker Prize
  17. ^ a b "Tahmima Anam Completes Her 'Bangladesh Trilogy' with The Bones of Grace". The Telegraph. Kolkota. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018.
  18. ^ Natasha Onwuemezi, "Rankin, McDermid and Levy named new RSL fellows", The Bookseller, 7 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Current RSL Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  20. ^ "A Burst of Energy in Bangladesh". The New York Times (Opinion).
  21. ^ "Is Bangladesh turning fundamentalist?' – and other questions I no longer wish to answer". The Guardian.
  22. ^ "Bangladesh: Give me back my country". New Statesman.
  23. ^ Anam, Tahmima (3 June 2021). The Startup Wife.
  24. ^ "Garmus, Ali, Keyes and more longlisted for Comedy Women in Print Prize". The Bookseller. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  25. ^ "2022/23 Prize | Comedy Women in Print". CWIP. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  26. ^ "The power of holding silence: Making the workplace work for women | Tahmima Anam | TEDxManchester - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  27. ^ "The God of Small Things to Shuggie Bain: the Queen's jubilee book list". the Guardian. 18 April 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  28. ^ Hong, Terry (July 2011). "An Interview with Tahmima Anam". Bookslut. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  29. ^ Anam, Tahmima (9 April 2019). "'For five years we dreaded every meal': my infant son's struggle with food". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  30. ^ Roy, Amit (5 June 2011). "Eye on England: Good Author". The Telegraph. Kolkota. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  31. ^ "Tahmima Anam: 'A lot of my feminist rage was born when I read The Bell Jar'". the Guardian. 15 July 2022. Retrieved 4 September 2022.

External links[edit]