(Lahore, 1971) grew up in the US and Pakistan. He started writing his debut Moth Smoke (2000) during his studies at Harvard. This innovatively written novel, in which an ex-banker becomes addicted to heroin, became a cult hit in India and Pakistan. The international bestseller The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), about a Pakistani who gives up his top job in the US due to his disappointment with the West, was turned into a film. After his third novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013), he wrote Discomfort and Civilization (2014), an autobiographical acount about politics, culture and religion, and Exit West (2017), a novel focused on a refugee couple in love. He also writes essays and opinion pieces in publications such as The Guardian, The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune.(2017)
Archive available for: Mohsin Hamid
Mohsin Hamid's novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) is educational: it shows how hurtful our way of doing things can seem to an outsider. And how the sheer power of the West - apart from the question of whether it is justified - creates much bad blood among people who want to take part in it with their talent and intellect, but who continue to feel shut out. This was written by Leonie Breebaart in Trouw newspaper in a discussion of Hamid's bestseller.
Now, one decade later, Mohsin Hamid had a conversation with journalist and writer Frank Westerman. The latter takes his readers back - among others in Srebrenica, the Blackest Scenario and especially in A Word, a Word - to terrorist acts from the recent past.
Which are the right words and deeds to win the battle of ideas with the fundamentalists? The conversation was hosted by Chris Keulemans.
Right after the performance, Mohsin Hamid and Frank Westerman were at Van Stockum Bookshop in the foyer for a booksigning session.
On the Opening Night of the Winternachten festival 2018 the focus was on freedom of speech.
Pauline Krikke, Mayor of The Hague, opened the festival followed by a word of welcome by Ton van de Langkruis, Director of Winternachten festival. Jennifer Clement, writer and President of PEN International introduced Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid. His novel Exit West was nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2017. On the occasion of the Opening Night, Hamid delivers the Free the Word! speech.
The prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards, presented to the winners by Oxfam Novib director Farah Karimi, honour writers who currently risk their freedom and even their lives to seek out and publish the truth.
The winners of the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards 2018 are journalist and writer Milagros Socorro from Venezuela and journalist Eskinder Nega from Ethiopia. Nega is imprisoned in his homeland and is therefore not attending to receive his Award.
The award ceremony was followed by an introduction of the award winners during the PEN Conversation by journalist and Nieuwsuur-anchor Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal.
The Opening Night programme further included performances by Boi Akih (world jazz) and Joost Baars (poetry). The programme was hosted by Margot Dijkgraaf, literary critic who regularly publishes in Dutch national newspaper NRC, and Chair of the Board of the Writers Unlimited organisation.
The Opening Night is organized in collaboration with Oxfam Novib, PEN International and PEN Nederland.
Writers talks about their favourite book - the book that inspires or moves them; the book that formed their aristic, moral or intellectual compass; the book that they would recommend to anyone.
A unique opportunity to meet international literary star Moshin Hamid and hear about his book Exit West. NRC newspaper literary critic Margo Dijkgraaf interviews Hamid (Pakistan) about his motivation to write, the source of his characters, and the worldwide success of his books.
Hamid became known with his bestseller The Reluctant Fundamentalist that was later turned into a film, about a Pakistani man who decides to give up his life in the US after a failed love affair and the events of 9/11. In his newest novel Exit West, shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, a couple in love amid war and migration finds an escape route to the West via secret doors.
How do we deal with borders in an era of globalization? Writers Unlimited presents a conversation about the necessity and the impossibility of national borders in an ever-shrinking world.
In his new, contemporary love story Exit West, the successful Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid describes life in a time of global migration. In the book, nominated for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, a young couple flees violence in their country via secret doors that lead to Greece and other places.
Paul Scheffer, author and professor of European Studies at the universities of Tilburg and Amsterdam, published the esssay De vrijheid van de grens (The border's freedom, 2016) in which he states that an open society can only exist by a certain spatial demarcation.
Ghayath Almadhoun read from his work for this event. The poet, a member of a young and engaged generation of Arabic writers, has a Palestinian-Syrian background and has lived in Sweden since 2008. He was a journalist in Damascus and set up a house of poetry there.
The musical contribution to this program was by The Hague oud-player, composer and music teacher Amer Shanati; visual artist and illustrator Gerda Dendooven made live drawings.