Interview: Aamer Hussein
LLF brings literary activity to a fascinating city
Aamer Hussein is a Karachi born writer who moved to London in 1970. Hussein is Professorial Writing Fellow at the University of Southampton, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies, and is currently a professorial research associate at the Centre for the Study of Pakistan.
His first collection, Mirror to the Sun, appeared in 1993, to be followed by three other collections, The Blue Direction (1999), Turquoise (2002) and Insomnia (2007), and a volume of selected stories, Cactus Town (2002). He has also published a novella, Another Gulmohar Tree (2009) and a novel, The Cloud Messenger (2011). His stories have been translated into many languages, including Arabic and Japanese. He is now working on new short stories in English and in Urdu.
His recent fiction has been published in Granta, Moth, Moving Worlds, and the New Statesman, and in the Penguin US anthology xoOrpheus. In 2012, he contributed four original stories and an essay in Urdu to the Karachi journal Dunyazad. He has also collaborated in the translation of his novels into Italian.
In 2004, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is a Senior Editor (Arts) of Critical Muslim, and a Contributing Editor at Asymptote. He has served as a judge for the Commonwealth Prize, Impac, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and the V.S. Pritchett Prize.
We spoke to the writer in an exclusive interview at the Lahore Literary Festival 2014.
Q: How does it feel to be a part of one of the biggest festivals in Pakistan?
Q: Do you think Lahore Literary Festival has anything to contribute to the literary world?
A: Lahore has a rich history and is one of the world’s most fascinating cities. It has also been a centre of literary culture for a long time and it’s inevitable that writers from all over the country and the world should want to converge here to meet their readers and each other.
Q: As a writer where do you think Pakistan’s youth stand right now with regard to their understanding of, and interest in literature?
A: I’ve found my young readers who correspond with me from all over the country, but particularly for Punjab, to be enthusiastic, passionate and intelligent. I think there’s a growing literary culture in Pakistan, including smaller cities.
Q: How do you think Lahore Literary Festival can help ignite citizens’ passion for literature?
A: By bringing writers and books to readers in a congenial and welcoming space.