Aamer Hussein [ United Kingdom, Pakistan ]
Aamer Hussein was born in Karachi, the former capital of Pakistan, in 1955. He received his education in the language of the country's former colonial rulers and from the age of twelve lived in different parts of India. In 1970 he moved to England with his mother and sister to join his father. Hussein abandoned his university studies in favour of sojourns in Italy and Spain, later completing a traineeship at a bank. At the age of twenty-five he graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London with a degree in Urdu, Persian and History.
Following a brief spell working for a film producer, Hussein has taught English Literature, Urdu and Creative Writing at various universities as well as publishing as an author since 1985. He has written numerous reviews for newspapers such as »The Independent« and the »Times Literary Supplement« and is on the editorial board of the multicultural literary magazine »Wasafiri«. Aside from these activities he has also worked as translator who, alongside Urdu classics, has discovered female authors in particular. In 2000 he edited the volume »Hoops of Fire: Fifty Years of Fiction by Pakistani Women« and five years later »Kahani: Short Stories by Pakistani Women«. He is currently translating a novel by the early twentieth-century writer Tyaba Bilgrami.
After the publication of his first short stories in various journals, Hussein's first collection, »A Mirror to the Sun«, came out in 1993. Since then he has written two more volumes of stories – »This Other Salt« (1999) and »Turquoise« (2002) –, which all revolve around the themes of loss, estrangement and longing. The partitioning of his Indian homeland, the magical Karachi, the sensuality of the East, and exile in a dull new country are further themes in his work. Hussein's plots unfold through crystallised, unpretentious sentences and shifting threads of development, creating a magical atmosphere – via a complex structure fashioned from flashbacks, surprising turns, interspersed dreams and myths – through which a breeze of melancholy floats. »Living in this harsh, aggressive city where friendship is my only refuge and travelling from one urban destination to another is a fine ... art, maybe the struggle within me of my northern present and the sub-tropical colours of my childhood creates the narrative tensions of my life, and contrast is the troublesome spine of my fictions.«
Hussein has been a Royal Literary Writing Fellow at Imperial College in London and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 2004. His new collection of stories, »Insomnia«, will be published in 2007. The author lives in London.
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