Kamila Shamsie and Moniza Alvi

2 June 2015

Kamila Shamsie, born in 1973,  is based in London but lived in Pakistan for many years. She has written six novels. This short story, ‘Our Dead, Your Dead’, was published in The Guardian as part of a 9/11 stories feature.

Her novels: In the City by the Sea; Cartography; Salt and Saffron; Broken Verses; Burnt Shadows; A God in Every Stone are published by Bloomsbury. Three of her novels have received awards from Pakistan’s Academy of Letters, she has been shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Baileys Prize, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

Shamsie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2013 was named a Granta Best of Young British Novelist.

Moniza Alvi was born in 1954 in Pakistan but when she was a few months old her family moved to England. She has published eight collections of poetry since winning a Poetry Business prize in 1991. Her collections, The Country at my Shoulder, A Bowl of Warm Air, Carrying My Wife, Souls, How the Stone Found its Voice and Europa have been shortlisted for the TS Eliot and Whitbread awards and been Poetry Book Society choices and recommendations. In Homesick for the Earth she translates the French poet, Jules Supervielle. She was selected for the Poetry Book Society’s New Generation Poets promotion and has won a Cholmondely Award.

We read her poem, ‘The Camp’, from her latest collection, At the Time of Partition (Bloodaxe 2013) which was described in the Independent as an “exquisitely mournful story of departure”. Alvi’s work is essential reading.


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