Kamila Shamsie

      Back Channel writes that we might be interested in an interview with novelist Kamila Shamsie from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/apr/11/kamila-shamsie-america-pakistan-interview .  It’s by Natalie Hanman and about the “the unashamedly political nature of [Shamsie’s]  novels.”   The article says, “[Shamsie]  is a political writer, and in an era when many artists are silent on the urgent questions of our time, unashamedly so. A former trustee of English PEN and Free Word, … she is passionate about ‘the novel as a place for politics,’ without being dogmatic. ‘Thank God that in the world there exist novels like Cold Comfort Farm,’ she says. ‘The book that can just make you laugh, without really worrying about anything else except laughing, is a fantastic thing. We need those books in the world. We need books like Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, which is about women in one house, but is the largest novel as well. So it would be wrong to be prescriptive to any individual writer about what they are writing. But out of every country, if you have enough writers, some of them will engage in some way with the politics of their nation.’
      Shamsie is also, says Hanman, ” scathing about what she sees as a lack of rage in the fiction coming out of the world’s superpower, a country with such a tangled involvement – both past and present – in the region she comes from. ‘I am deeply critical of American writers for their total failure to engage with the American empire. It’s a completely shocking failure, not of any individual writer … but it’s the strangest thing to look around and say, Where is the American writer writing about America in Afghanistan, America in Pakistan?  At a deep level, there is a lack of reckoning.'”


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