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Tag Archives: Kamila Shamsie

At The Cleveland Humanities Festival, Author Kamila Shamsie Asks “Why Weep for Stones?”

Novelist Kamila Shamsie has a knack for titles.  She called her talk in Cleveland “Why Weep for Stones?” and built it into a riveting meditation on history, art, war and morals.  Readers of her fiction – Shamsie won a 2010 Anisfield-Wolf prize for “Burnt Shadows” – will recognize the thematic confluence at once.Standing in the ornate neo-Gothic Harkness Chapel of Case Western Reserve University, Shamsie drew her listeners into thinking about the political destruction of art, such as the desecration and damage in Palmyra, Syria, amid a civil war that has claimed more than a quarter of a million lives.  Recent reports indicate that some of Palmyra’s irreplaceable ruins have survived the fighting.“What do we celebrate when we celebrate ancient artifacts withstanding... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Winners Fall On Both Sides Of PEN American Center’s Charlie Hebdo Award Controversy

More than 200 prominent authors—among them Anisfield-Wolf winners Junot Diaz and Kamila Shamsie—have publicly objected to the PEN American Center's decision to present French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo its Free Expression Courage award.  Gunmen aggrieved by the magazine’s depiction of Islam targeted the controversial Paris weekly in January and killed a dozen people. The signatories of an April letter to PEN argue that power and privilege must be considered when defining courageousness in satire: "The inequities between the person holding the pen and the subject fixed on paper by that pen cannot, and must not, be ignored." One of the critics is former PEN American president Francine Prose. Defending the decision, her successor, Andrew Solomon, co-wrote an op-ed for the... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Winners Both Attend And Object To The Brooklyn Book Festival

  Photo credit: Belem Destefani Brooklyn, N.Y. -- The Brooklyn Book Festival—a celebratory, cerebral, free event that runs one Sunday in September—attracted tens of thousands of readers, and this year, a spike of controversy. Anisfield-Wolf jurors Rita Dove and Joyce Carol Oates read from their work, soaking up warm applause, while two recent fiction winners—Junot Diaz and Kamila Shamsie—signed a petition calling on the festival to sever its support from Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept funding from the Israeli government just weeks after Israel’s bloody 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which left more than 2,100 Palestinians – including 500 children – dead,” asserts the petition, distributed... Read More →

What’s On Your Summer Reading List?

Kamila ShamsieWe don't know what the weather is like where you live, but this weekend it's going to hot and humid. Just the thought of 90-degree temperatures sends us scrambling inside for the air conditioning and a good book.  Pakistan's Express Tribune listed their top 10 books to re-read this summer and even if you've never read some of these books, we'd say they make for an excellent use of time. Among those listed were two Anisfield-Wolf winners: Kamila Shamsie (2010) and Mohsin Hamid (2008).  Of Shamsie's Kartography: Kamila Shamsie is one of the few female authors of the 90s who managed to get Pakistan on the literary map. Shamsie’s Kartography is a literary masterpiece and her passion and love for her city Karachi is evident in her every sentence, page and chapter.   Of... Read More →

VIDEO: Kamila Shamsie Introduces The “Writer’s Bloc” Project

How do we change the face of education worldwide? Is it simply a matter of producing better teachers? Donating money for repairs and renovations of some of the most dilapidated schools? Is it by working more closely with parents? Staff at the Open Society Foundations decided that an conversation on worldwide education had to start with a conversation on culture. They tapped several writers to contribute to the project—Chimamanda Adiche (writing on Nigeria), Aleksander Hemon (on Bosnia), Tahmima Anam (on Bangladesh), Petina Guppah (on Zimbabwe), Nathalie Handal (on Haiti), Rachel Holmes (on Palestine), Nick Laird (on Nepal), Kamila Shamsie (on Pakistan), Hardeep Sing Kholi (on India), and Zukisa Wanner (on South Africa). Zadie Smith (also an Anisfield-Wolf award winner) wrote the... Read More →

Kamila Shamsie Reflects On Her Hometown Of Karachi, Pakistan

Kamila Shamsie Kamila Shamsie spent most of her formative years living in Karachi, Pakistan, a sprawling city on the coast where "you can live your entire life without ever glimpsing the sea." Shamsie gives a wonderfully poetic description of her hometown in the latest issue of Newsweek: If there’s one word used more often than others to characterize the city by those who love it, it’s “resilience”—the ability to endure suffering without breaking—but Karachi is full of broken people who have long since ceased to be astonished at discovering new ways to break. And the unbroken develop carapaces that allow them to endure the suffering of others. This isn’t resilience, it’s survival. Read the entire article here. Read More →

Get To Know…Kamila Shamsie

Each week, we'll be helping you to get to know our winners better (what a great bunch they are) and highlighting the best of their work, interviews and essays. We've dedicated this week to all things concerning Kamila Shamsie, 2010 winner for fiction. Check out this video in which she discusses having a cosmopolitan with one of Shakespeare's characters, the one book she just doesn't "get," and her biggest annoyance about book critics.  Read More →

What Will We Do If Public Libraries No Longer Exist?

Kamila Shamsie 2011 Anisfield-Wolf winner Kamila Shamsie reflects on the availability of literature through the world's public libraries—and what that means for future generations:  "A couple of years ago, after a reading in Karachi, I told off a young man who was asking me to sign a pirated copy of one of my books. Piracy is destroying publishing in Pakistan, I told him. He said he understood but added that because pirated books are cheaper he could buy more of them. It’s not as if Karachi is filled with public libraries, he said."  Shamsie goes on to discuss the rising crisis in London, where 10 percent of all libraries have closed since April 2011. Read the full article here. A commenter on the article added:  "Libraries are important not just for the poor. They work for all of us and... Read More →

Interview With Kamila Shamsie On The Power Of Reading

In this brief interview, Kamila Shamsie, a 2010 Anisfield-Wolf award winner, talks about the joy of reading, the upside of ebooks, and whether she considers herself a political writer. A must-listen for anyone who is a fan of her work or a fan of literature in general. Read More →
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