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Literature

Subgroup: 

Literature

The   Literature Subgroup organises regular presentations featuring writers of all   genres of writing, from pacy novels to biographies and contemporary poetry to freelance journalism.
These events may include book launches, with purchasing and signing opportunities with the author. The presentations can be illustrated with slides and videos and are sometimes humorous, yet always informative. An opportunity to discuss the subject of the evening with the presenter concludes each event.

Coordinator: Ilona Yusuf

Co-coordinator: Baya Benhassine

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Subgroup Programmes: 

Literature - 'WE TAKE OUR CITIES WITH US- A MEMOIR'- SORAYYA KHAN

Literature - 'WE TAKE OUR CITIES WITH US- A MEMOIR'- SORAYYA KHAN

Sunday, 11 February 2024

'EVEN WHEN WE LEAVE THEM, OUR CITIES NEVER LEAVE US ...'

After her Dutch mother’s death, Sorayya Khan confronts her grief by revisiting their relationship, her parents’ lives, and her own Pakistani-Dutch heritage in a multicultural memoir that unfolds over seven cities and three continents.

We Take Our Cities with Us ushers us from Khan’s childhood independence forged at her grandparents’ home in Lahore; to her adolescence in Pakistan’s new capital, Islamabad; to Syracuse and Ithaca, New York, where Khan finds her footing as the mother of young, brown sons in post-9/11 America; to her birthplace, Vienna, where her parents die; and finally to Amsterdam and Maastricht, the cities of her mother’s conflicted youth.

In Khan’s gripping telling of her immigrant experience, she shows us what it is to raise children and lose parents in worlds other than your own. Drawing on family history, geopolitics, and art in this stunning story of loss, identity, and rediscovery, Khan beautifully illuminates the complexities of our evolving global world and its most important constant: love...

·With grace and power, this mesmerizing memoir swirls from continent to continent, decade to decade, through a journey of identity, memory, loyalty, and loss. Part map, part family tree, We Take Our Cities with Us provides an intimate glimpse into what it means to make a home in the global modern age. Sorayya Khan is an exquisite storyteller—Eleanor Henderson

·We Take Our Cities with Us is a memoir of uncommon delicacy and emotional force: Sorayya Khan illuminates her hybrid legacy and international upbringing, braiding the multiple threads of her complex identity. This is an intimate, beautiful, and lasting book—Claire Messud

·This is a rich, wise, deeply moving reflection on cities that are both home to migrants and themselves migrants, having morphed into barely recognizable versions of their former selves. The ghosts of other times and places haunt the characters in this memoir. Sometimes that haunting is a reminder of what has been lost forever, but sometimes it can also be a consolation: even as our passports root us in one place, our curiosities, loves, and longings can make unexpected connections across supposedly insurmountable borders.—Jonathan Gil Harris

The programme will include short readings of We Take Our Cities with Us, and Sorayya will join us with pre-recorded remarks on her journey from novelist to memoirist and will offer us a glimpse into a writer's research process.

  • Sorayya Khan is the author of We Take Our Cities with Us: A Memoir and three novels: Noor, Five Queen's Road, and City of Spies, which won the Best International Fiction Book Award at the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Special Programme/ Literature- HIDDEN CALIPHATE- SUFI SAINTS BEYOND THE OXUS AND INDUS: WALEED ZIAD

Special Programme/ Literature- HIDDEN CALIPHATE- SUFI SAINTS BEYOND THE OXUS AND INDUS: WALEED ZIAD

Saturday, 27 January 2024

Hidden Caliphate, Sufi Saints beyond the Oxus and Indus (Harvard University Press) [local publishing by Sang-e-Meel, exp Dec 2023]

Having conducted fieldwork across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia, in 140 towns and villages, often living with religious communities in the Afghan-Pakistan border areas- Waleed Ziad -In his path breaking book, tells the story of Central and South Asia through the lens of transnational Sufi networks from the 18th century onwards, offering a vital new perspective on a region long understood only through European imperial histories.

This work is therefore essential in not only reframing our understanding of the history of Pakistan and its neighbors, but tracing how the region transformed from a cosmopolitan center with a flexible religious tradition into a breeding ground for exclusionary, monolithic interpretations of Islam...

Fusing social history, religious studies, and anthropology to offer a new vision of Islamic sovereignty, where a Hidden Caliphate of Sufis provided order in times of political upheaval and fragmentation, Ziad shows how Asia was knit together by networks of Sufis centered in Pakistan and Afghanistan’s chief cities- Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, and Bukhara- as pivot points of Eurasia where a host of knowledge systems, spiritual and scholastic networks and nationalities blended.

"Always misrepresented by colonial actors, these Sufis known as the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidis, were the major force of military, social, and ideological resistance against the British and Soviet invasions through the 19th and 20th centuries and their influence is still felt today across the Muslim world. They, fused Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Indian literary traditions, mystical virtuosity, popular religious practices, and urban scholasticism in a unified yet flexible expression of Islam. They brought cohesion to diverse Muslim communities from Punjab to the Central Asian steppes and Siberia..."

Awards

  • Albert Hourani Prize, the most prestigious prize in Middle Eastern Studie (through the Middle East Studies Association),
  • The American Institute of Pakistan Studies book award 2023

Shortlisted

  • British Association for South Asian Studies, 2023 -Book Award.
  • The Bloomsbury Pakistan 2022 Book Award

Reviews can be found at:

Hidden Caliphate — Waleed Ziad | Harvard University Press

Literature - 'FACE TO FACE WITH BENAZIR' : ZAHID HUSSAIN

Literature - 'FACE TO FACE WITH BENAZIR' : ZAHID HUSSAIN

Monday, 11 December 2023

In conversation with Zahid Hussain...

In His introduction to the book, journalist Ghazi Salahuddin states, 'In a larger perspective, Zahid Hussain's interviews of Benazir Bhutto that he had done for the news monthlies Herald and Newsline,underline the essential role that journalism plays in the compilation and understanding of history...'

The story begins in 1986 when Benazir Bhutto returned home to lead her party's struggle against the military dictatorship of General Zia ul-Haq and ends in her tragic assassination in 2007. Zahid Hussain enjoyed a long association with Benazir Bhutto as a journalist and got the rare opportunity to observe her political journey up close.

'Face to Face with Benazir' is a compilation of interviews of the late Benazir Bhutto ( twice-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan) published in the Herald and Newsline magazines from 1986 to 2002. They provide rare insights into Benazir's thoughts and struggles during her tumultuous life.

Zahid Husain is an award- winning journalist and author. A former correspondent of Times of London and the Wall Street Journal, he has authored several books including 'Frontline Pakistan', 'The Scorpion's Tail' and 'No Win War- the paradox of US- Pakistan relations in Afghanistan's Shadow' .

'Face to Face with Benazir' is his latest offering!

Literature - 'JINNAH, A LIFE' :  YASSER LATIF HAMDANI

Literature - 'JINNAH, A LIFE' : YASSER LATIF HAMDANI

Monday, 9 October 2023

In conversation with Yasser Latif Hamdani, a Human Right's barrister and Advocate of the High Courts of Pakistan.

How did the leader of the All-India Muslim League become the figurehead of the creation of a separate independant country for Muslims? And what are the roots of the different facets of Jinnah’s personality, steely determination, and political views, including secularism?

With his book “Jinnah- A Life”, Yasser Latif Hamdani presents a thoroughly researched biography of Muhamed Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan and a central figure in recent history of South Asia and the shaping of the Sub Continent.

This comprehensive and well-documented biography based on new material gives insights into of Jinnah’s life that cristallized him as the central figure in the recent history of South Asia and the shaping of the sub-continent .

Hamdani in his book, explores how Jinnah’s early life and life events shaped his complex personality. His unshakable will and determination to achieve his goals and his gradual shift from being a staunch nationalist advocating for the protection of Muslim rights and achieving greater political influence for Muslims inside an independant India, to demanding the creation of separate Muslim state in 1947...

Non- Members: For further information contact ASG Office: 051-2802343 Thursday- Saturday : 11 am- 2 pm

 

 

Literature- JAVIER MORO- ON WRITING NARRATIVE FICTION

Literature- JAVIER MORO- ON WRITING NARRATIVE FICTION

Friday, 12 May 2023

In Conversation...

Javier Moro, is a highly acclaimed Spanish author . Several of his books are set in the subcontintent (Five Past Midnight in Bhopal, Passion India etc.). Amonst his well- known books is 'The Red Sari'- a biography of Sonia Gandhi- The conversation tonight will feature insights on the writer's subjects, method and writing career, which almost began in Pakistan !

Javier Moro is the nephew of Dominique LaPierre, co author of Freedom at Midnight, who initiated him into the craft of narrative non fiction.

 

Literature - 'TAPESTRY'- STRANDS OF WOMEN’S STRUGGLES WOVEN INTO THE HISTORY OF PAKISTAN

Literature - 'TAPESTRY'- STRANDS OF WOMEN’S STRUGGLES WOVEN INTO THE HISTORY OF PAKISTAN

Thursday, 27 April 2023

A conversation with Dr. Fouzia Saeed about her book on women who have made their mark on the history of Pakistan, offering glimpses of the dominant social and political trends in the country’s past. As she states in the preface: “My goal has been to trace the history of our women’s struggle so we can understand it better and be proud of the risks our forbearers took to give us a better life … we should all own the history of our struggle so we can take it forward with pride.”

“I have always felt I was a women’s rights activist. This was never my profession, just a conviction, a yearning to improve my life and try to help other women of Pakistan...”

Dr. Saeed has spent over 30 years working for social change in Pakistan. She has a PhD from the University of Minnesota, USA, and has distinguished herself as a social activist, a development professional, a successful manager as well as an accomplished scholar. She has written five books, all the while also creating Pakistan’s first women’s crisis centre and successfully advocating for the passage of several laws protecting and empowering women.

Literature - CELEBRATING 7 YEARS OF THE  'THE ALEPH REVIEW'

Literature - CELEBRATING 7 YEARS OF THE 'THE ALEPH REVIEW'

Monday, 20 March 2023

The Aleph Review, a non-profit journal, celebrates 7 years of its print anthology of literature and art. A conversation with the editors will be interspersed with readings by Islamabad based poets and writers, chosen from the books.

Mehvash Amin, the publisher and Editor in Chief, is ably assisted by associate editor Ilona Yusuf, Managing Editor Hassan Tahir Latif, contributing editor Afshan Shafi, and newly recruited editors Mina Malik and Noor Waheed. Sana Hassan does the layout and Jamil Masud is cover designer as well as in charge of all pre-press details.

A running website, www.thealephreview.com, puts up four new pieces a month as well as archival excerpts from the print journal. The journal is grateful to all sponsors past and present for their invaluable help.

Literature - THE STORIES WE HAVE TO TELL

Literature - THE STORIES WE HAVE TO TELL

Saturday, 25 February 2023

In conversation

Arshad Waheed's latest novel "Other Days", is an eventful story exploring how identities change, and what happens when people choose a non-conformist way of life.

It is a story of the past, which still reflects present-day Pakistani society... a tale of alienation and heartache, an underlying theme in this novel is also the writer's urge to tell the one story that always haunts him- a lifelong project which takes him back to the place and the people where it all started.

At the centre of the story are Daud and Sara, two Pakistani immigrants living in the UK. Due to an incident decades ago, linked to the prevailing sociopolitical atmosphere in their home country, they both carry with them the stamp of the outsider...

Arshad Waheed published his first novel in Urdu "Gumaan", in 1995. He has also done groundbreaking translation work, opening the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "Love in the Time of Cholera” , Milan Kundera's "Immortality” and “The Art of the Novel” to Urdu-reading audiences. With a medical degree and an MSc in social policy and planning in developing countries from LSE in London. he currently serves as Technical Advisor of Social Policy &Planning at the Institute of Social Policy in Islamabad.

 

Literature - A SEPOY'S STORY OF WAR & LOVE: GHAZALA JAHANGIR RAO

Literature - A SEPOY'S STORY OF WAR & LOVE: GHAZALA JAHANGIR RAO

Thursday, 26 January 2023

In Conversation with the translator and subject’s nephew, Wasif Rashid

“My Uncle Rao Khilafat’s memoirs showcase the less-than-glamorous life of ordinary sepoys in World War Two. Joining up was an escape from grinding poverty and perhaps a commission...several British Indian Army officers, Sandhurst trained and even more pukka than the British, published their memoirs after the war. Gen Ali Hamid has recently written an excellent account of Sahibzada Yakub's imprisonment in Avezzano. Uncle.was incarcerated in the same camp!

What followed can best be described as hell on earth: forced marches across the scorching heat of the Libyan Desert, a near drowning in Palermo harbour, internment in Italy, escape and other adventures, such as falling in love with Clara. Packed off to Java after Italy, Uncle's peculiar odyssey finally ended in Java, his back shredded by a mortar shell.

A life lived to the fullest…”

 

Literature -  BIBI SAHIBA: THE FEMALE SCHOLAR-SAINT OF THE AFGHAN EMPIRE

Literature - BIBI SAHIBA: THE FEMALE SCHOLAR-SAINT OF THE AFGHAN EMPIRE

Monday, 5 December 2022

At the turn of the 19th century, Bibi Sahiba Kalan (1752-1803)-was recognized and exalted as a great female Sufi and scholar. Her network of thousands of disciples spanned from the Arabian Sea to Central Asia. The spiritual guide of scholars and kings, and the Khan of Bukhara, she was personally invited to his kingdom. Her travels took her to North India, Central Asia, and Arabia; She led a caravan from Mecca and built and managed colleges and shrines at Kandahar, Kabul, Yemen, and Sindh.Bibi Sahiba’s sons and grandsons – Sufi masters in their own right – defended Afghanistan against the invading British in the Anglo-Afghan Wars. Their stories are among the only available narratives of the wars from the perspective of the Afghan forces on the ground...

Dr. Ziad’s book “Sufi Masters of the Afghan Empire: Bibi Sahiba and Her Spiritual Network (Harvard, exp.2023)” overturns our understanding of women’s spiritual and religious leadership in the Muslim world before the 20th century. One of many similar female scholar-saints in what is today Pakistan and Afghanistan, her story is critical for the region. It provides an indigenous model for women’s empowerment and leadership and highlights lived traditional Islam.The book is based on original research in seven languages, and fieldwork across 20 towns in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Tracing her footsteps, this is the first time her story has been told in English...

Dr. Waleed Ziad is Assistant Professor and Ali Jarrahi Fellow in Persian Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Prior to this, he was an Islamic Law and Civilization Research Fellow at Yale Law School. He completed his PhD in the Department of History at Yale University, where his dissertation won the university-wide “Theron Rockwell Field Prize”, one of two most prestigious awards across disciplines. In the last decade, he has conducted fieldwork on historical and contemporary religious revivalism and Sufism in over 120 towns across Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan. His forthcoming books include

· Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints beyond the Oxus and Indus,

· In the Treasure Room of the Sakra King: The Native Copper Coinage of Northern Gandhara,

· Beyond the Khutba and Sikka: Sovereignty and Coinage in Sindh,

· The Arch-Saint of the Afghan Empire, her teacher, and her son (in progress).

His articles on historical and ideological trends in the Muslim world have appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, The Hill and other major international dailies.

 

 

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