The novelist’s canvas

In conversation with novelist Kamila Shamsie

Kamila Shamsie is indubitably the most eloquent and perhaps one of the most talented among the young breed of writers from Pakistan who write in English. Shamsie's growth as a writer has been an accretion of sorts, over the years it took her to write six novels, unlike writers who appear on the literary scene fully formed with their first offering at the pinnacle of their literary prowess – particular cases are Jamil Ahmad, Arundhati Roy, and Daniyal Mueenuddin from her own generation. Readers familiar with her work will find a remarkable transformation from the writer who wrote In the City by the Sea, her first novel, to her latest A God in Every Stone, which shows the kind of self-assuredness and ingenuity which won her a place on Granta's list of Best Young British novelists of 2014. Strictly in terms of numbers too she is ahead of the handful of authors who have brought Pakistani writing in English into greater notice in the world of English letters.

I met up with her at the Bloomsbury offices of her publishers in June 2014 and was struck by her candour, intelligence, humour – and sharp tongue.

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Himal Southasian