Kamila Shamsie is the author of several previous novels, including Broken Verses, Burnt Shadows, and most recently, the 2017 Man Booker Prize longlisted Home Fire. She has been a finalist for the Orange Prize (twice) and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, among other honors, and has been named one of Granta‘s Best of Young British Novelists and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She was raised in Karachi and lives in London.
Home Fire is the “suspenseful and heartbreaking story of an immigrant family driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.”
“Two-time Orange Prize nominee Shamsie (A God in Every Stone) has written an explosive novel with big questions about the nature of justice, defiance, and love.” — Kirkus Reviews
Don’t miss out: Shamsie will be visiting City of Asylum’s Alphabet City on August 26!
What comes to mind when you think of Pittsburgh?
My sister went to Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, and I was there for her graduation. Afterwards, we had an overnight stay in Pittsburgh to catch a really early flight out – the first of 5 connecting flights that would take us home to Karachi. The hotel forgot to give us a wake-up call so we arrived at Pittsburgh Airport when the flight had already closed. But the really nice man at the airline desk called the plane and asked them to wait for us, just as the plane was about to pull away from the terminal.
So what comes to mind is the panicked rush to the airport, and the kindness of a stranger. It’ll be nice to come back and have some time to actually see the city.
What books are on your nightstand?
Refugee Tales (Comma Press) – an anthology of stories to which I’ve contributed; Sharon Olds’ Odes, Suzy Hansen’s Notes from a Foreign Country and a huge pile of cricket books (the game not the insect) that I have to review.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film?
I tend to think of books as books and not really want to see them in some other form. If you love a book, it’s disturbing when the images you’ve formed in your head are replaced by images on a screen that are often completely other than what you imagined. It feels as if something intimate in your relationship with the book has been taken away. I’ll deny ever saying this if anyone ever makes a movie of one of my novels, of course.
Who would you most want to share a plate of pierogis with?
Toni Morrison. Do we think Toni Morrison is a fan of pierogis? If not, I’ll eat them all and she can just talk.