Born in 1971 in Lahore, Mohsin Hamid has spent much of his life split between the United States and Pakistan, which gives him the unique advantage amongst contemporary authors of being able to relate intimately to two very different cultures.
Between the ages of 3 and 9 he lived in America while his father, a university professor, taught at Stanford University, and after a further nine years in Pakistan, he returned to America at the age of 18 to begin studying at Princeton.Whilst there he was taught by the writers Joyce Carol Oates and Toni Morrison, for whose fiction workshop he wrote a draft of his first novel. He graduated from Princeton in 1993 and, after another short spell in Lahore, began studying at Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1997.
Hamid began work as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in New York, during which time he wrote his first novel, Moth Smoke, which was published to great acclaim in 2000.
In 2001 he moved to London, where he remained for eight years. The Reluctant Fundamentalist, his second novel, was published in 2007 and instantly became an international bestseller. He returned to Lahore in 2009 with his wife Zahra and daughter Dina, and currently divides his time between Lahore, New York, London, Italy and Greece.
Hamid has written short stories which have appeared in Granta (A Beheading, Granta 112: Pakistan, Autumn 2010) and The Paris Review (Focus on the Fundamentals, Paris Review no. 178, Autumn 2006). His articles on politics, the arts, travel, literature and other topics regularly appear in Time, The Guardian, Dawn, The New York Times, The Washingston Post, The Financial Times and La Repubblica.
His two novels have been received internationally with great acclaim. Moth Smoke, which tells the story of a drug-addicted ex-banker in Lahore, became a cult hit in India and Pakistan, where it was also adapted for television, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, highly praised for its unusual structure and contemporary feel. The Reluctant Fundamentalist, dealing with post-9/11 New York and a Pakistani man’s experiences of it, was translated into 25 languages, reached number 4 on The New York Times Bestseller List and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It went on to win several awards, including the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the Ambassador Book Award, and may soon be made into a film.
Mohsin Hamid is today regarded as one of the leading authors from South Asia, offering a new way of opening up the Pakistani culture and looking at challenging and controversial issues. He is currently working on a new novel.
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