Nadeem Aslam

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Nadeem Aslam FRSL
Nadeem Aslam.jpg
Nadeem Aslam reading from his new novel, The Golden Legend at Lannan Literary Awards 2016.
Born (1966-06-11) 11 June 1966 (age 52)
Gujranwala, Pakistan
CitizenshipPakistani, British
Alma mater University of Manchester (Drop-out)
Genre Novel, Essay
Literary movement Realism, Postmodernism, Imagism, Postcolonialism
Notable works Maps for Lost Lovers
The Blind Man's Garden
The Golden Legend
Notable awards Betty Trask Award
Author's Club First Novel Award
Encore Award
Kiriyama Prize
Windham–Campbell Literature Prize

Nadeem Aslam FRSL (born 11 July 1966 in Gujranwala, Pakistan) [1] is a prize-winning British Pakistani novelist. His debut novel, Season of the Rainbirds, won the Betty Trask and the Author's Club First Novel Award. His critically acclaimed second novel Maps for Lost Lovers won Encore Award and Kiriyama Prize; it was shortlisted for International Dublin Literary Award, among others. Colm Tóibín described him as "one of the most exciting and serious British novelists writing now".

Gujranwala City District / Divisional Capital in Punjab

Gujranwala is a city in Punjab, Pakistan, that is located north of the nearby provincial capital of Lahore. The city is Pakistan's 7th most-populous metropolitan area, and its 5th most populous city proper. Founded in the 18th century, Gujranwala is a relatively modern town compared to the many nearby millennia-old cities of northern Punjab. The city served as the capital of the Sukerchakia Misl state between 1763 and 1799, and is the birthplace of the founder of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The Betty Trask Prize and Awards are for first novels written by authors under the age of 35, who reside in a current or former Commonwealth nation. Each year the awards total £20,000, with one author receiving a larger prize amount, called the "Prize", and the remainder given to one or more other writers, called the "Awards". The award was established in 1984 by the Society of Authors, at the bequest of the late Betty Trask, a reclusive author of over thirty romance novels. The awards are given to traditional or romantic novels, rather than those of an experimental style, and can be for published or unpublished works.

Maps for Lost Lovers is a novel by the British Pakistani writer Nadeem Aslam. Ostensibly about the murder of a pair of lovers, the book is in fact a minute dissection of working-class Pakistani immigrant communities that have settled in the north of England over the last 40 years.


His most recent book is The Golden Legend (2016).

Early life

Nadeem Aslam moved with his family to the UK aged 14 when his father, a Communist, fled President Zia's regime. The family settled in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. He later studied biochemistry at the University of Manchester, but left in his third year to become a writer. [2]

Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq Longest reigning dictator of Pakistan

Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq was a Pakistani four-star general who served as the 6th President of Pakistan from 1978 until his death in 1988, after declaring martial law in 1977. He remains the country’s longest-serving de facto head of state.

Huddersfield Town in West Yorkshire, England

Huddersfield is a large market and university town in West Yorkshire, England. It is the 11th largest town in the United Kingdom, with a population of 162,949 at the 2011 census. It lies 14 miles (23 km) southwest of Leeds and 24 miles (39 km) northeast of Manchester.

West Yorkshire County of England

West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county in England. It is an inland and in relative terms upland county having eastward-draining valleys while taking in moors of the Pennines and has a population of 2.2 million. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972.


At 13, Aslam published his first short story in Urdu in a Pakistani newspaper.[ citation needed ]

Urdu National language and lingua franca of Pakistan; one of the official languages of India; standardized register of Hindustani

Urdu —or, more precisely, Modern Standard Urdu—is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. It is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. In India, it is one of the 22 official languages recognized in the Constitution of India, having official status in the six states of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi. It is a registered regional language of Nepal.

His 1993 debut novel, Season of the Rainbirds, set in rural Pakistan, won the Betty Trask and the Author's Club First Novel Award. Salman Rushdie described it as 'One of the most impressive first novels of the recent years'.

Salman Rushdie British Indian writer

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist and essayist. His second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was deemed to be "the best novel of all winners" on two separate occasions, marking the 25th and the 40th anniversary of the prize. Much of his fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. He combines magical realism with historical fiction; his work is concerned with the many connections, disruptions, and migrations between Eastern and Western civilizations.

His next novel, 2004's Maps for Lost Lovers , is set in the midst of an immigrant Pakistani community in an English town in the north. The novel took him more than a decade to complete, and won the Encore Award and Kiriyama Prize. [3] It was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

The £10,000 Encore Award for the best second novel was first awarded in 1990. It is sponsored by Lucy Astor. The award fills a niche in the catalogue of literary prizes by celebrating the achievement of outstanding second novels, often neglected in comparison to the attention given to promising first books. Entry is by publisher.

The Kiriyama Prize was an international literary award awarded to books about the Pacific Rim and South Asia. Its goal is to encourage greater understanding among the peoples and nations of the region. Established in 1996, the prize was last awarded in 2008.

Aslam's third novel, The Wasted Vigil, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in September 2008. [4] It is set in Afghanistan. He traveled to Afghanistan during the writing of the book; [5] but had never visited the country before writing the first draft. [6] On 11 February 2011, it was short-listed for the Warwick Prize for Writing [7]

Afghanistan A landlocked south-central Asian country

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range. The north consists of fertile plains, while the south-west is primarily desert. Kabul serves as the capital and its largest city.

Aslam's fourth novel is The Blind Man's Garden (2013). It is set in Western Pakistan and Eastern Afghanistan and looks at the War on Terror through the eyes of local, Islamist characters. It contains also a love story loosely based on the traditional Punjabi romance of Heer Ranjha.[ citation needed ] The Blind Man's Garden was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize 2014, which is given by the Royal Society of Literature.

He has mentioned Vasko Popa, Ivan V. Lalić, Czesław Miłosz, Wisława Szymborska, Herman Melville, John Berger, VS Naipaul, Michael Ondaatje, and Bruno Schulz. [5] as the writers that he admires.

His writings have been compared to those by Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Kiran Desai. Aslam received an Encore in 2005. He writes his drafts in longhand and prefers extreme isolation when working. [8]

He was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2012.



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  1. Jaggi, Maya (26 January 1913). "Nadeem Aslam: a life in writing". The Guardian . Guardian Media. p. 33. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  2. "Nadeem Aslam". British Council Literature. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  3. "Press Room". The Kiriyama Prize. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  4. Random House
  5. 1 2
  6. BBC World Service, The Word , 14 October 2008.
  7. The Warwick Prize for Writing, 2011 archive. Retrieved 1 November 2015
  8. Rees, Jasper (14 June 2004). "Nadeem Aslam". Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  9. Ashlin Mathew (22 November 2013). "Three Indians in race for DSC prize for South Asian Literature 2014". India Today . Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  10. "Prize Citation for Nadeem Aslam". Windham–Campbell Literature Prize. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.