Kamila Shamsie discusses ‘Home Fire’ at KLF - MobileArena

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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Kamila Shamsie discusses ‘Home Fire’ at KLF

The second day of the ninth annual, Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) dawned with highly acclaimed Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie in discussion with moderator Rosinka Chaudhri. 
The talk was positioned around Shamsie’s latest novel titled ‘Home Fire’ that is a modern day revision of the Greek tragedian Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’.
Moderator Rosinka Chaudhri, a professor of Cultural Studies at Calcutta’s Center of Studies in Social Sciences, touched upon subjects of the book for the author without giving too much away. 
The book orbits the story of two sisters Isma and Aneeka, and their conflicting ways of dealing with the abrupt departure of their brother Pervaiz, who goes to work for the media arm of ISIS.
The discussion began with what ignited the idea behind the novel’s plot and also skimmed through topics of British politics in the existing world, the rise of Islamophobia and national adversities like Brexit, that lead citizens into yielding ownership of a country.
The talk also switched back and forth about   links  between the characters of the two stories, -such as Aneeqa as Antigone, Isma as Ismene, Haimon as Eamonn and Creon as Karamat. 
This identifies a correspondence between the two works that are standing ages apart.
“Never again will a single story be told as though it were the only one” said Kamila quoting John Berger as she explained the idea behind  her novel’s structure, which she said is manifest in literature from all over with authors invoking this line.
The discussion concluded with Kamila dispelling the notion that Karamat Lone, the British politician of Pakistani heritage in the novel is not a distortion of the British Muslim mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who she claimed is, unlike the character of Karamat, “very comfortable about being a Londoner and a Muslim. He observes Ramadan and can also be seen opening the gates to the Pride Parade.”
Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire has been longlisted for The Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Costa Prize. The writer’s seventh novel has received accolades from all over the world, including positive reviews  from The Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post.

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