April issue 2010
Pakistani fiction writers continued to make headlines when Daniyal Mueenuddin took the First Book Prize at the Commonwealth Writers Prize for his short-story collection, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders. British-Indian author Rana Dasgupta won the Best Book award for his novel, Solo.
The awards were announced at a ceremony held at the Indus Valley School on March 11. Chief guest Fahmida Riaz began the ceremony by speaking on the duties writers have to society as a whole. She felt that writers in English had a special responsibility since they served as a conduit to the West for the Pakistani people. Other speakers included Muneeza Shamsie, the regional chairperson of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and Aisha Dar, the head of the Liberal Arts department at Indus Valley.
After the award was announced, Mohammed Hanif, the winner of the First Book Prize last year, read passages from his novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes. Actor Nimra Bucha read sections from Daniyal Mueenuddin’s book while Talat Hussain read excerpts from Dasgupta’s work.
Nadir Hassan is a Pakistan-based journalist and assistant editor at Newsline.