(Pakistan, 1964) made his debut in 2008 with A Case of Exploding Mangoes, which won awards instantly (the Commonwealth Book Prize for best debut, among others). A dark satire about the plane Crash killing general Zia, Pakistan's former president. An NCO who wants to take revenge after his father's death, tells the story. Hanif himself was a pilot in the airforce before woking as a journalist. He worked for Newsline, The Washington Post and India Today. In 1996 he became head of the Urdu-department of the BBC Worldservice in London. In 2008 he returned to Pakistan to work there as a journalist. His second novel Our Lady of Alice Bhatti (2011), is largely set in a Christian hospital in Karachi, the place where small daily dramas take place. Hanif: 'It is not the life CNN, FOX and Al Jazeera report on… For me that life is as exciting as the things happening on a worldwide scale.'(WU 2013 GR)
Archive available for: Mohammed Hanif
Shame in the Arab world. Shame as part of culture and literature. On this subject Lebanese writer Hanan al-Shaykh wrote an opening lecture on the invitation of the festival. Hanan al-Shaykh is regarded one of the most important Arabic woman writers. After her lectuer Ms al-Shaykh will be interviewed by Arabist Petra Stienen, and will discuss the lecture with the Dutch writer Peter Buwalda (Bonita Avenue) and the Pakistani author Mohamed Hanif. But first there is the offical opening of the festival by the Dutch minister for Education, Culture and Science, mrs Jet Bussemaker.
'Our lives were always permeated by shame, without it ever being discussed. Shame was part and parcel of our lives like the colour of our eyes or hair, whether that shame stemmed from our personal lives or the fact that we Arabs had made such a deep fall from historic glory to domination.' In Kamila, the Story of My Mother Hanan al-Shaykh writes about her mother's courage in the face of religious pressures, the family and tradition. Her mother chose for herself and left her husband and children in order to go and live with the love of her life. To her amazement she was swamped with criticism owing to the candidness with which she had written on her grandparents' poverty and illiteracy.
Kenyan poet and singer Ngwatilo Mawiyoo provides the musical opening, accompanied by musicians Serigne Gueye and Mark Tuinstra. In English.
The whole evening interviews with writers at the festival for the VPRO radio programme De Avonden Live. Visitors are allowed to peek freely and listen in. In English.
Humour eases all pain. No matter how deep the sorrow, or how explosive the situation. Are writers present-day jesters and do they get away with mockery, as long as what they say ismeant in jest? Three Pakistani writers cross swords, or rather: words, on this topic. With a poetic and humorous performance by Rodaan Al Galidi and music by the Iranian percussionist Mohammad Reza Mortazawi. In English.