April Issue 2009

By | Books | Society | Published 12 years ago

With A Case of Exploding Mangoes, novelist and journalist Mohammed Hanif has been creating fireworks since last year, and his recent crowning glory is his nomination for the Commonwealth’s Best First Book Award in March.

Professor Makarand Paranjape, chair of the judges, upon announcing the winners on March 12, commented: “In the first book category, Mohammed Hanif was a clear favourite, with his amazingly detailed and plausible portrayal of historical events, coupled with great political insight and stylistic virtuosity. Fact and fiction merge in this fast-paced page-turner, in curious and unprecedented ways. This book is also the first Pakistani novel to be a regional winner.”

A fictionalisation of the events leading to General Zia-ul-Haq’s assassination, Exploding Mangoes has been one of the most talked-about books since its launch last year. Hanif’s debut novel is also shortlisted for The Guardian First Book Award and longlisted for The Booker Prize. Winning the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award is another feather in his cap. Expressing pleasure at winning his latest honour, Hanif remarked “I am really pleased to win this prize. I am especially pleased because some of the other nominees are such brilliant writers.”