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Writing from Pakistan

June 2009

This June, as the world’s focus turns to events in Pakistan, our guest editor, Basharat Peer, restores some nuance to our understanding of the region with a selection of literary work that shines a light on the country’s unique historical and cultural heritage.

By Shirley Lee
The mere use of everyday language is a subversive act in the North Korean literary context.
By Basharat Peer
My selections are a very small segment of the corpus of Pakistani literature.
By Allison Markin Powell
I set out to showcase the robust variety of contemporary Japanese fiction, and I think these writers demonstrate just that, brilliantly.
The First Morning
By Intizaar Hussain
I have no definite answer to questions about why I migrated from India to Pakistan after the partition in 1947.
Translated from Urdu by Basharat Peer
His Majesty
By Vali Ashraf Sabuhi
When I was a child, until someone told me a story I couldn’t sleep.
Translated from Urdu by Nauman Naqvi
The “Monthly Ulloo”
By Muhammad Khalid Akhtar
Without these uncles, life is a thing utterly insipid and meaningless, and living a mere waste of time.
Translated from Urdu by Bilal Tanweer
Pink Pigeons—Was It They Who Won?
By Fahmida Riaz
The tiny leaves break into applause. “What are these trees called?” I ask the interpreter.
Translated from Urdu by Muhammad Umar Memon
Do You Suppose It’s the East Wind?
By Altaf Fatima
The enormous weight of three hundred and sixty-five days once again slips from my hand and falls down into the dark cavern of the past.
Translated from Urdu by Muhammad Umar Memon
The Man With Three Names
By Asad Muhammad Khan
He had three names: Majeeta, Majeed and Ma’i Dada
Translated from Urdu by Muhammad Umar Memon