About Nadeem Aslam
Nadeem Aslam is a British Pakistani novelist. His debut novel, Season of the Rainbirds, won the Betty Trask and the Author's Club First Novel Award. His critically acclaimed second novel Maps for Lost Lovers won Encore Award and Kiriyama Prize, it was shortlisted for International Dublin Literary Award, among others. Colm Tóibín described him as "one of the most exciting and serious British novelists writing now".
Nadeem Aslam was born 11 July 1966 in Gujranwala, Pakistan. He moved with his family to the UK aged 14 when his father, a Communist, fled President Zia's regime. The family settled in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. He later studied biochemistry at the University of Manchester, but left in his third year to become a writer.
At 13, Aslam published his first short story in Urdu in a Pakistani newspaper.
His 1993 debut novel, Season of the Rainbirds, set in rural Pakistan, won the Betty Trask and the Author's Club First Novel Award. Salman Rushdie described it as 'One of the most impressive first novels of the recent years'.
His next novel, 2004's Maps for Lost Lovers, is set in the midst of an immigrant Pakistani community in an English town in the north. The novel took him more than a decade to complete, and won the Encore Award and Kiriyama Prize. It was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.
Aslam's third 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 11 February 2011, it was short-listed for the Warwick Prize for Writing.
Aslam's fourth novel is The Blind Man's Garden (2013). It is set in Western Pakistan and Eastern Afghanistan and looks at the War on Terror through the eyes of local, Islamist characters. It contains also a love story loosely based on the traditional Punjabi romance of Heer Ranjha. The Blind Man's Garden was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize 2014, which is given by the Royal Society of Literature.
He has mentioned Vasko Popa, Ivan V. Lalić, Czesław Miłosz, Wisława Szymborska, Herman Melville, John Berger, VS Naipaul, Michael Ondaatje, and Bruno Schulz. as the writers that he admires.
His writings have been compared to those by Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Kiran Desai. Aslam received an Encore in 2005. He writes his drafts in longhand and prefers extreme isolation when working.
He was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2012.