In times of war, why do armies destroy cultural artifacts? And what does it mean when we, far away onlookers, mourn that destruction even as lives are being lost? This lecture looks at the role of culture, the threat it poses to those who are fighting for an ideology, and the ethics of our reaction to that destruction. It also asks what the word ‘lost’ means in relation to art, a subject that is also explored in Kamila Shamsie’s most recent novel, A God in Every Stone.
This event is sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.
Kamila Shamsie, the Pakistani novelist, was born into a literary family. Her mother is a critic and short-story writer, her grandmother was a memoirist, and her great-aunt, a novelist and short-story writer.
Born and raised in Karachi, Shamsie studied creative writing at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. and earned an MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. At UMass, Shamsie showed an agent a short story she’d written as an undergraduate. That story became her critically acclaimed first novel, In the City by the Sea, which was published in 1998 and shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, honoring the best work of literature by a young Commonwealth author. In 1999 she received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literature from the Pakistan Academy of Letters.
Shamsie’s second novel, Salt and Saffron, was published in 2000. That year, the influential British internet portal Orange named her one of “21 Writers of the 21st Century.” Kartography followed in 2002 and her fourth novel, Broken Verses, in 2005. Both won the Patras Bukhari Award from the Pakistan Academy of Letters. Burnt Shadows, her fifth novel, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for fiction and won the Danish Literature Prize ALOA-2010. It is being translated into 21 languages.
Shamsie lives in London. She is a trustee of the Free Word Centre, a board member of English PEN, a literary and human-rights organization, and a frequent contributor to The Guardian.
Click HERE for the Kamila Shamsie resource guide created by CWRU’s Kelvin Smith Library.
Click HERE for a review of Shamsie’ latest novel, A God in Every Stone.
Click HERE for Anisfield-Wolf information.
Click HERE for a Guardian article.
Click HERE for British Council of Literature information.
Click HERE for books by Kamila Shamsie.