Nadeem Aslam biography

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Nadeem Aslam
Photo copyright Jerry Bauer.

Nadeem Aslam

Nadeem Aslam Biography

Nadeem Aslam was born in Pakistan in 1966 and moved to Britain at age 14. His family left Pakistan to escape President Zia's regime.

His novel Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kuriyama Prize, took him more than a decade to complete. Aslam has stated that the first chapter alone took five years to complete, and that the following story in the book took seven months to complete before rejecting it. At the end, he kept only one sentence of the seventy pages written. Aslam's latest novel, The Wasted Vigil, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in September, 2008. It is set in Afghanistan. He traveled to Afghanistan during the writing of the book but had never visited the country before writing the first draft. On 11th February 2011, it was short-listed for the Warwick Prize For Writing.

His writings have been compared to those by Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Kiran Desai and received an Encore in 2005. He writes his drafts in longhand and prefers extreme isolation when working.

Aslam currently lives in north London.



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Interview

Nadeem Aslam discusses his latest book, The Wasted Vigil, explaining how he approached writing a book which tackles some of the most challenging issues today, such as global jihads, martyrdom, and terrorism.

What made you choose Afghanistan as a setting for The Wasted Vigil
In 1992, when I finished my first novel I more or less tossed a coin to determine what book I would write next: my Afghanistan novel or my British-immigrant novel. Both subjects seemed equally urgent—a bloody civil war had begun in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani immigrant community in Britain seemed well advanced on the path that would lead to the suicide bombings on July 7, 2005. I began to write Maps for Lost Lovers, my immigrant novel, and as soon as I finished it in spring 2003, I started work on The Wasted Vigil.

When in the 1980s, the USA and Saudi Arabia began funding and arming the Afghan mujahidin, my family and friends in Pakistan were among the people who warned about the dangers of giving billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Islamic fundamentalists. The predicted horror was unleashed onto the people of Afghanistan soon enough, but it took decades for it to reach the wider world—on September 11, 2001 the consequences became apparent to everyone.

I wanted to explore and record all of that in The Wasted Vigil. Afghanistan—a crossroads of history—seemed an appropriate place to discuss the meeting of Islamic and Western culture, ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Nadeem Aslam at BookBrowse
The Golden Legend jacket The Blind Man's Garden jacket The Wasted Vigil jacket Maps For Lost Lovers jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Nadeem Aslam but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Leila Aboulela

    Leila Aboulela

    Leila Aboulela won the first Caine Prize for African Writing and is the author of many novels. Minaret was longlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize. The Translator was one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year. ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Maps For Lost Lovers

    Try:
    Minaret
    by Leila Aboulela

  • Diana Abu-Jaber

    Diana Abu-Jaber

    Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of several novels, including Arabian Jazz, Crescent, and Birds of Paradise. Crescent was awarded the 2004 PEN Center USA Award for Literary Fiction and the Before Columbus Foundation's American ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Maps For Lost Lovers

    Try:
    Crescent
    by Diana Abu-Jaber

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