Pakistan's English novelist Kamila Shamsie mentions disparaging remarks made by well-meaning people in her circle when she voiced her ambition to Leaving no margins: Salman Rushdie created the subcontinent's own English be a writer of fiction — predicting there was disappointment in store for her. Shamsie herself knew no one else who wanted to be a novelist writing in English. The scene was quiet, if not bleak.
Interestingly, Shamsie links the growth of Pakistani fiction to the strong presence of Indian English fiction that shot into the global limelight in the Eighties. In what she calls the 'Midnight's Children's moment' for Pakistan was tangibly experienced only in 1997 when Oxford University Press published an anthology of Pakistani English writing titled A Dragonfly. Verily, it needed the thriving Indian English scene to make it happen.
Earlier, novels by Bapsi Sidhwa and Zulfikar Ghose had received favourable notice but they barely managed a big 'world space' for Pakistani writing until India's literary scene had suitably arrived. The fate of the English novel in Pakistan is intertwined with that in India. Ahmad Ali's Twilight in Delhi was written in English probably to give the alternative version of the Raj's influence on Delhi's culture and declining Mughal empire.
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