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Children not reading as many or as diverse books as before

An edited version of this book was first published in The Express Tribune on May 5, 2014. Islamabad – From among the group of school girls, Ramsha Zafar admitted bashfully that she is fond of the stories of Amar Ayyar, popularly mispronounced as Umro Ayyar, the legendary trickster from the Dastaan-e Amir Hamza. Ramsha, an […]

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Islamabad Literature Festival 2014: South Asian English poetry and the hegemony of English language

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Apr 27, 2014. Islamabad – Why would a non-native English speaker belonging to a postcolonial nation write in the former master’s language? Why would a South Asian poet write in English? Some writers and poets say it was their personal preference, […]

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Islamabad Literature Festival 2014: Literature in the time of crises

This article was first published in The Express Tribune on Apr 26, 2014. Islamabad – April which to TS Eliot apparently is “the cruelest month” turns out to be the most benign for the literature buffs of twin cities. They – before it departs – will have a chance to listen and interact with as […]

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On the literature of peripheries in a global mass market

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Feb 6, 2014. Islamabad – From the tone and tenor of his talk, the Brazilian author Bernando Carvalho appears to be a soft-spoken, principled rebel. His rebellion is thorny and refreshing in a world where writers often opt for obsequiousness rather […]

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Spanish film festival in Islamabad

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Dec 7, 2013. Islamabad – When the grey-haired Alvarez sings, he seems to channel an inner lived suffering that transcends the barriers of language. The voice that leaves his throat is a melodious, haunting cry, filled with pain and passion. Alvarez, […]

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Exotic like coriander, book details the expat experience

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Nov 27, 2013. Islamabad – It is only in a foreign, distant land that something as regular and underrated as coriander, the herb popular for the crisp fragrance and citrusy taste it adds to Pakistani cuisine, might become a much-wanted and […]

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Wagner’s 200th birth anniversary celebrated in Islamabad

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Oct 12, 2013. Islamabad – It is perhaps no secret that Pakistanis love emotions and drama. So it was not surprising that Pakistani guests, who attended a Piano Concert organised by the German Embassy on Thursday, seemed to adore the music […]

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Comment: Restoring our heritage

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Sep 12, 2013. My parents tell me we are from the Mughal tribe. I don’t have any way to verify this claim. I just take their word for it because I don’t really understand what belonging to the Mughal tribe truly […]

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Renovation at Sheikhupura fort

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Sep 6, 2013. Islamabad – A historical fort in Punjab might get the long-awaited attention it appears to desperately need. The 17th Century Sheikhupura fort, which lies in the heart of Sheikhupura city some 35 kilometres away from Lahore, has been […]

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Pakistan’s socioeconomic predicament shown in art

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Jun 3, 2013. Islamabad – On opposite walls at the Nomad Art Gallery, the works of two young artists, Syed Faraz Ali and Irum Khokhar, address two issues that appear to be mutually exclusive at first glance. But the global political […]

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