Tahmima Anam

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Tahmima Anam
Anam at the Free Word Centre, London in November 2015
Anam at the Free Word Centre, London in November 2015
Native nameতাহমিমা আনাম
Born (1975-10-08) 8 October 1975 (age 43)[1]
Dhaka, Bangladesh
OccupationWriter, novelist, columnist
NationalityBritish Bangladeshi
CitizenshipBritish Bangladeshi
Alma materMount Holyoke College (BA)
Harvard University (Phd)
Royal Holloway, University of London (MA)
Notable worksA Golden Age
The Good Muslim
The Bones of Grace
Years active2007–present
Roland O. Lamb (m. 2010)
RelativesMahfuz Anam (father)
Abul Mansur Ahmed
(paternal grandfather)

Tahmima Anam (Bengali: তাহমিমা আনাম; born 8 October 1975) is a British Bangladeshi writer, novelist and columnist. Her first novel, A Golden Age, was published by John Murray in 2007 and was the Best First Book winner of the 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. In 2013 she was included in the Granta list of one of the best young writers.[2] Her follow-up novel The Good Muslim was nominated for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Early life[edit]

Anam's father Mahfuz Anam was a freedom fighter in Bangladesh Liberation War. Her mother Shaheen and grandfather Abul Mansur Ahmed, a writer and activist, too had been deeply involved in the war.[4][5][6]

Anam was born on 8 October 1975 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, four years after the country’s independence. She remained there until her age was two. Then the family moved to Paris, New York and Thailand due to her father’s job with UNESCO. During her childhood her parents had made her introduce to Bengali culture. They used to speak Bangla at home and spoke often about the war and what it meant to them.[7][8]

The family moved back in Bangladesh in 1991, where her father started his career as editor of The Daily Star, the largest circulating English-language newspaper in Bangladesh.[7][8]


At the age of 17, she won a scholarship for Mount Holyoke College. She graduated from there in 1997.[7][9]

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." In 2005.[10]

Later, she completed her MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.[9][5]


In March 2007, Anam’s first novel was published by John Murray. She picked the Bangladesh Liberation War as her first subject to write the novel A Golden Age. Anam was inspired by her parents who were freedom fighters during the war.[11] Tahmima also researched the war which covered the central part of her post graduation. For the benefit of her research, she stayed in Bangladesh for two years and interviewed hundreds of war fighters. She also worked on the set of Tareque and Catherine Masud’s critically acclaimed film Matir Moina (The Clay Bird) which reflects the happenings during that war.[12]

In 2011, her second novel The Good Muslim, a sequel to A Golden Age, was published. It was nominated for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize longlist.

In 2015, her stort-story Garments was published. The story has been inspired from the Rana plaza building collapse. It won the O. Henry Award[13][14] and has also been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.[15] At 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 under Harper Collins.[17]

In 2017, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[18][19]

Anam’s op-ed column has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and in The New Statesman. In her column, Anam has written about Bangladesh and its growing problems.[20][21][22]

Personal life[edit]

Anam’s first husband was a Bangladeshi marketing executive. In 2010, Anam married an American inventor, Roland O. Lamb, whom she met at Harvard University.The couple have a son named Rumi.[17][23] She has resided in Kilburn, London for the last decade.[24]



  • A Golden Age. John Murray. 2007. ISBN 0-7195-6010-1.
  • The Good Muslim. HarperCollins. 2011. ISBN 978-0-06-147876-5.
  • The Bones of Grace. Harper Collins. 2016. ISBN 978-0061478949.

Short stories[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tahmima Anam author biography BookBrowse
  2. ^ The Bones of Grace': Anam's ‘Bengal trilogy’ comes to a graceful close The Christian Science Monitor
  3. ^ "Women – Welcome to British Bangladeshi Power 100". British Bangladeshi Power 100. January 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  4. ^ Razzaque, Rana. "Biography of Abul Mansur Ahmed". Banglapedia. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b Tahmima Anam lifts the veil on Bangladesh’s ugly truths The Times
  6. ^ Bergquist, Karin (2007). "Mahfuz Anam". culturebase.net. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2007. Outspoken editor from Bangladesh
  7. ^ a b c Tahmima Anam: ‘I have a complicated relationship with Bangladesh’ The Guardian
  8. ^ a b A Daughter of Bangladeshi Revolutionaries Makes Sense of Life After War The New Yorker
  9. ^ a b "Tahmima Anam '97 Makes Granta's "Best of Young British Novelists" List". Mount Holyoke College.
  10. ^ A Postmodern Youth Harvard Magazine
  11. ^ "Bookseller report on Tahmima Anam". Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  12. ^ "The outsider". Prothom Alo. 13 January 2007.
  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
  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 New York Times
  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. ^ Hong, Terry (July 2011). "An Interview with Tahmima Anam". Bookslut. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  24. ^ Roy, Amit (5 June 2011). "Eye on England: Good Author". Telegraph India. Retrieved 17 October 2012.

External links[edit]