Zulfikar Ghose (born March 13, 1935) is a novelist, poet and essayist. A native of Pakistan and current resident of Texas, his works are primarily magical realism, blending fantasy and harsh realism.
Born in Sialkot, India (now Pakistan), Ghose grew up as a Muslim. His father, Khwaja Mohammed Ghose, was a businessman and moved with the family to Bombay (now Mumbai) during the Second World War in 1942. After the partition of British India into Pakistan and India, Ghose and his family emigrated to England. He graduated from Keele University in 1959 and taught at Ealing Mead School in London.
He became a close friend of British experimental writer B. S. Johnson, with whom he collaborated on several projects, and of Anthony Smith. The three writers met when they served as joint editors of an annual anthology of student poets called Universities' Poetry. Ghose also met English poet Ted Hughes and his wife, the American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath, and American author Janet Burroway, with whom he occasionally collaborated.
While teaching and writing in London from 1963 to 1969, Ghose also freelanced as a sports journalist, reporting on cricket for The Observer newspaper. Two collections of his poetry were published, The Loss of India (1964) and Jets From Orange (1967), along with an autobiography called Confessions of a Native-Alien (1965) and his first two novels, The Contradictions (1966) and The Murder of Aziz Khan (1969).
In 1964, Ghose married Helena de la Fontaine, an artist from Brazil (a country he later used as the setting for six of his novels). He moved from London to the United States in 1969 to teach at the University of Texas in Austin, where he has lived ever since.
In the 1970s, Ghose gained international repute with his trilogy The Incredible Brazilian, which American writer Thomas Berger called "a picaresque prose epic of Brazilian history." American travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux called the work "a considerable feat of imagination."
Ghose has written poetry and prose (both fiction and non-fiction). His books of poetry include The Violent West, A Memory of Asia and Selected Poems. He has written short stories, novels and five books of literary criticism.
Ghose's correspondence with Berger, spanning 40 years, is housed for research at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. The letters cover topics such as their writing projects, books they were reading and personal concerns.
Berger's dystopic 1973 novel Regiment of Women was dedicated to Ghose.
- Statement Against Corpses (1964), short stories, with B. S. Johnson
- The Contradictions (1966)
- The Murder of Aziz Khan (1967)
- The Incredible Brazilian
- Crump's Terms (1975), ISBN 0-333-10744-6
- Hulme's Investigations Into the Bogart Script (1981), ISBN 0-931604-08-7
- A New History of Torments (1982), ISBN 0-09-147670-4
- Don Bueno (1983), ISBN 0-09-154230-8
- Figures of Enchantment (1986), ISBN 0-09-163640-X
- The Triple Mirror of the Self (1992), ISBN 0-7475-1096-2
- Veronica and the Góngora Passion: Stories, Fictions, Tales and One Fable (1998), ISBN 0-920661-70-X
- Confessions of a Native-Alien (1965), autobiography
- Hamlet, Prufrock and Language (1978), ISBN 0-333-23997-0
- The Fiction of Reality (1983), ISBN 0-333-29093-3
- The Art of Creating Fiction (1991), ISBN 0-333-49019-3
- Shakespeare's Mortal Knowledge: A Reading of the Tragedies (1993), ISBN 0-333-57909-7
- Beckett's Company (2008), Oxford University Press for Pakistan
- The Loss of India (1964)
- Jets from Orange (1967)
- The Violent West (1972), ISBN 0-333-13241-6
- A Memory of Asia (1984), ISBN 0-931604-18-4
- Selected Poems (1991), ISBN 0-19-577388-8
- Zulfikar Ghose - UHV/ABR Reading Series, a talk at the University of Houston's Alcorn Auditorium in April 2009, hosted by the American Book Review.
- Society for Critical Exchange interview on YouTube, at the University of Houston in May 2009.
- Milan Kundera/Zulfikar Ghose Number, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Volume IX, Summer 1989.
- The B.S. Johnson / Zulfikar Ghose Correspondence. Edited by Vanessa Guignery. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015. ISBN 978-1443872669
- "Good Reads Zulfikar Ghose". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- "Zulfikar Ghose", Encyclopædia Britannica.
- "The Literary Encyclopedia". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- Huang, ed. by Guiyou (2001). Asian American autobiographers : a bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. p. 91. ISBN 031331408X.
- Coe, Jonathan (2004). Like a fiery elephant : the story of B.S. Johnson ([New paperback edition] ed.). London: Picador. p. 228. ISBN 0330350498.
- The B. S. Johnson Society.
- "Zulfikar A Ghose - Professor Emeritus", Department of English, The University of Texas at Austin.
- "‘If poetry and literature are happening, the human spirit is alive’", The Express Tribune, February 13, 2011.
- "Zulfikar Ghose: A Preliminary Inventory of an Addition to His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center". Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- "A search for self", an article about Ghose in Dawn newspaper of Pakistan.
- To The University Students Of Pakistan, text of a lecture published by Dawn in December 2008.
- Inventory of His Papers, Addition to His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
- Observations from a correspondence. From Thomas Berger's letters.
- "A Conversation with Zulfikar Ghose", by Reed Way Dasenbrock and Feroza Jussawalla, an interview with the author at his Austin home in 1985. From The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Summer 1989, Vol. 9.2.