March Issue 2010
A Literary Feast
At the centre of the dimly lit room sat a group of people. About 50 pairs of eyes focused intently on them, taking in every miniscule detail. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee permeated the air; the incessant chatter of zealous literary devotees had come to a halt as they waited with bated breath for the discussion to begin.
Novelists Kamila Shamsie, H.M. Naqvi, Musharraf Farooqi and Nafisa Rizvi were at T2F to read a passage of their choice from their own novels for an evening devoted to postcolonial literature. Kamila Shamsie theorised about the importance of mulberries and the people who take them for granted while Nafisa Rizvi spoke of a new bride’s experience with her dreaded in-laws and a frail peer. Musharraf Farooqi read a letter proposing marriage to an ageing widow while H.M. Naqvi read a short story. After that, the three regional judges from the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize presented their opinions about the term “postcolonial.”
The floor was then thrown open to members of the audience, who also made their views known. An interesting point was raised when a lady in the audience remarked on the condescending attitude of the British towards the colonised countries and their literature. The discussion spanned various topics such as speed-reading and the qualities the judges look for in a book in order for it to be eligible for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
All in all, the evening was extremely informative, enjoyable and well attended. The judges’ views were exceedingly insightful, as were those of the authors.