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Bapsi Sidhwa


Pakistan (b.1938)

Bapsi Sidhwa is Pakistan's leading diasporic writer. She has produced four novels in English that reflect her personal experience of the Indian subcontinent's Partition, abuse against women, immigration to the US, and membership in the Parsi/Zoroastrian community. Born on August 11, 1938 in Karachi, in what is now Pakistan, and migrating shortly thereafter to Lahore, Bapsi Sidhwa witnessed the bloody Partition of the Indian Subcontinent as a young child in 1947. Growing up with polio, she was educated at home until age 15, reading extensively. She then went on to receive a BA from Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore. At nineteen, Sidhwa had married and soon after gave birth to the first of her three children. The responsibilities of a family led her to conceal her literary prowess. She says, "Whenever there was a bridge game, I'd sneak off and write. But now that I've been published, a whole world has opened up for me." (Graeber) For many years, though, she says, "I was told that Pakistan was too remote in time and place for Americans or the British to identify with"(Hower 299). During this time she was an active women's rights spokesperson, representing Pakistan in the Asian Women's Congress of 1975.
 
Bapsi Sidhwa recommends
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How It Happened (2013)
Shazaf Fatima Haider
"Full of charming irreverence and nail biting suspense, this delightfully funny book by a fresh young author is a great read."
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Close to Home (2014)
Parvati Sharma
"A breezy novel with snappy dialogue and mercurial twists of plot."