WHERE WORLDS COLLIDE
PAKISTANI FICTION IN THE NEW MILLENIUM
by David Waterman
Monday 20 April - Conference Hall - 6:30 pm
David Waterman is Professeur des universités at the Université de La Rochelle, France, where he is Director of the department of Applied Foreign Languages and a member of the research team CRHIA (Center for Research in International and Atlantic History).
His most recent publication is Where Worlds Collide: Pakistani Fiction in the New Millennium (Oxford University Press, 2015).
David Waterman works on Pakistani history, culture and literature in English, and has served on the editorial team of Pakistaniaat .
His published works include Pat Barker and the Mediation of Social Reality (2009), Identity in Doris Lessing’s Space Fiction (2006), Le miroir de la societe: La violence institutionnelle chez Anthony Burgess, Doris Lessing et Pat Barker (2003), and Disordered Bodies and Disrupted Borders: Representations of Resistance in Modern British Literature (1999).
Where Worlds Collide - Pakistani Fiction in the New Millennium
Pakistan is both very young as a nation, and very old in its cultural heritage, and the story of Pakistan – in all its diversity – is still being written. If the story of Pakistan goes back at least to the first civilizations of the Indus Valley, transmitted through successive generations in oral and written form in many different languages, nowadays it is within the context of globalization that readers today are becoming familiar with the story of Pakistan through the current generation of Pakistani novelists writing in English.
It goes without saying that these narratives of Pakistan must compete in the West with the images, prejudices and stereotypes engendered by political discourse and relayed by the press, generally focusing on Pakistan in terms of strategic security and framing Pakistan as a problematic partner in the so-called war on terror. Fortunately the story of Pakistan is not limited to the Afghan war and the attacks of September 11, 2001; the history which informs the story of Pakistan has much deeper roots. All of the writers under discussion were born after the Partition of the subcontinent in 1947, and most of the novels under consideration were first published in the twenty-first century, the one exception being Kamila Shamsie’s In the City by the Sea.
These writers are producing much first-rate fiction, and deservedly receiving much critical and popular attention as well as prestigious literary prizes across the globe. The fictional slice-of-life representations provided by these contemporary Pakistani writers take into account every day issues, stories of individuals and their families, their joys and sorrows and fears, and place them in the context of the bigger story of Pakistan as a nation – a nation with a long and rich cultural history, which has only been a nation as such for sixty-five years yet has survived despite predictions of its failure.
The Salon Littéraire is an initiative of the Alliance Française de Karachi which brings Pakistani and French writers, both contemporary and past, to the AFK in order to discuss and interact on matters of literature with AFK members and the general public. Previous sessions have included talks on Parveen Shakir, the poetry of Benazir Bhutto, and the First World War in French Literature.
The Salon Littéraire is free and open to the public.