Based in Karachi, Pakistan, Bina Shah is a writer and novelist focused on issues relating to Pakistan and beyond.
- Paul Smith Shoes and Cultural Appropriation (UPDATED) 9 Mar 2014Thank you, Paul Smith, for doing the right thing.Paul Smith has come up with a fabulous new design for shoes, check them out. They call them the "Robert Sandals" and you can buy them here online for GBP 300:Except oops, wait a second, this isn't an original design by Paul Smith. They are in fact Peshawari chappals (slippers) that have been ma […]
- U Withokheda - A Burmese Schindler 7 Mar 2014When I went to IWP in 2011 I met a wonderful Burmese writer, Cho Tu Zal, who had come out of Burma for the first time in his life to attend the writers' residency in Iowa City with me and 36 other writers from many countries. He and I got along very well and became friends. We call each other "brother" and "sister" and keep in touch […]
- On Getting a Pakistani Passport 5 Mar 2014Yesterday I went to the passport office in Karachi's Awami Markaz in order to renew my Pakistani passport.This is not an experience most people look forward to, so I'm not complaining about the incredible privilege I enjoy that allows me to go through the "Urgent" facility - if you pay Rs. 9000 (and grease the right palms) you get your pa […]
- The Face of Peace and the Nation on its Knees 4 Mar 2014This is 25 year old Fizza Malik, a young Pakistani woman from Islamabad who graduated earlier this year with a degree in Law from the London School of Law in the United Kingdom. She returned to Pakistan after completing her studies and started her law practice three days ago in the Islamabad District Court. She was a junior lawyer, had applied for her law pr […]
- Is literature the antidote to the Pakistani identity crisis? 1 Mar 2014I argue "yes" in the spring issue of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature's guest editorial, which you can read and download for free here. And please send me feedback if you agree, or if you've got another antidote. We need all the antidotes we can get.
- The Divine Blueprint 26 Feb 2014Yesterday I watched Mona Eltahawy go "Head to Head" with Mehdi Hasan on Al Jazeera's debate series at the Oxford Union in a talk entitled "Do Arab Men Hate Women?" It was forty-five minutes of brilliance on the part of Eltahawy, who was asked to explain her views on feminism, women's rights in the Middle East, and her famous For […]
- The Children's Literature Festival 2014 22 Feb 2014The literature festival scene in Pakistan tends to be dominated by the big festivals - Karachi for the last five years, Lahore for the second year, and a soon to be held Islamabad festival scheduled for October. But there's one festival that is really worth everyone's time and attention - the Children's Literature Festival, which I attended th […]
- A Season For Martyrs Sneak Preview 14 Feb 2014Very exciting to see the Amazon page for A Season For Martyrs, my new novel, go up. If you're an author, Amazon lets you maintain an Author Page where you can list all your books available on the site and link to a blog, a Twitter stream, and other magical social media happenings. And you can find mine here.You often have to prepare a synopsis for a nov […]
- Generosity Amid Want 14 Feb 2014Here's a link to my latest column at the New York Times. As the title suggests, it's about the culture of philanthropy in Pakistan and the challenges that it poses to Pakistan's economic development.I had a good time writing this piece. I was intrigued by the fact that we were named as one of the highest philanthropic nations in the world (I l […]
- Karachi Literature Festival 2014 10 Feb 2014I had a great time at the Karachi Literature Festival this year, the fifth of its existence. I remember when it started in 2010 and there were only 50 speakers over 2 days at the Carlton Hotel with two sessions running at the same time. Today there were 280 speakers, 3 days of conference, seven concurrent sessions, and 70,000 visitors.SEVENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE […]